Westminster Council Uses New Anti-Squatting Laws

Westminster City Council is one of the first council's to use a new anti-squatting law to reclaim a home from an unauthorised occupant.

New powers came into effect at the start of this month.

They allow local authorities to call in the police to arrest squatters, rather than pursuing civil eviction proceedings through the courts.

Westminster City Council's housing management provider, CityWest Homes, contacted the police about the squatter on the Lisson Green estate after the new eviction powers came into effect on 1 September.

Legal efforts had been underway over the summer to evict the squatter, who had been living at the property for four months, but were delayed as the process went through the civil courts.

But with the new laws, police officers turned up at the flat to arrest the man, only to find that he had already left with all of his equipment, which included furniture, laptop and a large LCD TV.

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A new waxwork of the Sherlock star has gone on display at Madame Tussauds - close to the fictional detective's home in Baker Street.

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