We all know that the Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) until recently hosted an internet forum which was used by Housebreakers to advertise ‘handyman’ services for ‘opening up’ (i.e., breaking into) buildings which squatters wanted to use.
That is the standard trick – squatting is itself legal, but unlawful; breaking and entering is not. And using a third party to do the criminal bit for you allows you to cross your fingers and ‘finesse’ the police about your knowing nothing of the illegal part.
Squatting is itself becoming illegal soon for residential properties (about time, too), but when the Occupy LSX crowd entered Roman House yesterday they declared that it was all legal, hunky dory, and safe:
Occupy supporter Bryn Phillips, 28, dismissed the safety concerns, saying: “There was a log book inside the building and it was completely blank for asbestos.
“And we’re only going to be occupying one floor at a time and that would be health and safety checked first.”
The protesters plan to open the building to the public on 23 January, which will be the 100th day since they began the London chapter of a global movement against “corporate greed”.
However they’ve already left, having made a dog’s breakfast of their choice of building, which was in fact a residential project which was already underway, where the developer had agreed to spend Â£4m on 26 units of affordable housing. Had they done their homework, they would know that it received final planning permission as recently as 23 December 2011, and was in process of asbestos removal.
But there’s a footnote on the subject of legal occupation.
What is this I see before me, nestling in the ample bosom of the published Occupy LSX accounts?
I wonder what that was used for?
Entering a building illegally, by any chance?