THE owner of a vacant building has blasted the legal system for allowing squatters to remain in his property.
Concerned Nick Kan, 45, from Worthing, said he has been too stressed to work ever since squatters entered the ground floor of his building in Ambrose Place, Worthing, on Sunday.
I feel very let down by the law.Nick Kan
Newspapers now cover the former Thai restaurant’s windows and posters have been put up outlining the squatters’ intentions to stay.
The notices state that it is their home and a court order will be needed to evict them. Another note reads: ‘Please donate. We are homeless’.
Mr Kan said: “I feel very let down by the law. The weird thing is I’m not allowed to go inside my own building now. It’s absolute madness.
“We work really hard to have our own property. When people break in we expect the law to be on our side. The law is there to protect the people and the property, but not in this case.”
A source who wished to remain anonymous said there were as many as eight people occupying the building.
Mr Kan will attend Worthing County Court on Thursday in an attempt to get an interim possession order (IPO). Once acquired, the squatters will need to leave within 24 hours or face arrest.
Because the property is registered for commercial use, the matter is a civil one and not criminal.
Police can only take action if squatters commit other crimes when entering or staying in a property.
The building has stood vacant since the previous tenants left in October and is currently being marketed to let.
“You can’t imagine the amount of stress I’m going through in this period,” said Mr Kan. “Every night when I go to bed I close my eyes knowing someone is in my property. I haven’t been able to go to work for the whole week. I don’t even want to imagine when I open the door what I will find.”
When Mr Kan confronted the squatters they told him they would not leave and that he would need a warrant.
He claims the group entered the building through a window that faces out into an adjacent alleyway.
Mr Kan said “They know what they are doing.”
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