Military Cross for hero Gurkha who was shot and hit by a grenade… then took on Taliban gunmen armed with only his ceremonial Kukri

A hero Gurkha has won the Military Cross after single-handedly fighting off two armed Taliban attacking an Afghan patrol base… with just his ceremonial Kukri knife.

Rifleman Tuljung Gurung tackled the gun-wielding insurgents armed only with his razor-sharp traditional Nepalese blade and forced them to flee.

Incredibly, the soldier – now an acting Lance Corporal – battled them despite being dazed after a bullet smashed directly into his helmet and he was knocked down by shockwaves from an enemy hand grenade which he threw to safety when it landed next to him.

Now the modest 28-year-old has won the third highest gallantry award for his courage in Afghanistan.

Acting L/Cpl Gurung received the Military Cross for stopping the extremists from reaching sleeping British soldiers in the Helmand compound.

Top brass said his selfless bravery had prevented a ‘potentially catastrophic loss of life’.

He is among 117 servicemen and women who received awards in the operational honours list, published today.

Most of the honours go to troops who served with 4 Mechanized Brigade in Helmand between October last year and April.

Acting L/Cpl Gurung, who serves with the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was on duty at Patrol Base Sparta, in Nahr-e Seraj, at 4am on March 22 when he spotted two Afghans running towards his sangar, or watchtower.

When he challenged them to stop, the insurgents opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle.

One of the rounds struck him on the helmet, knocking him to the ground. Groggily getting to his feet, he saw a grenade bounce into the tower.

Fearing it would explode, the married Gurkha picked it up and hurled it away a split-second before it detonated, the force of the blast throwing him to the floor.

But as the dust and debris settled, Acting L/Cpl Gurung came face-to-face with one of the Taliban who was climbing into the 3 metre high sangar.

Lacking room to aim his rifle, the soldier drew his 18inch kukri and tenaciously took on the insurgent in hand-to-hand combat.

During the fight, the pair plunged to the ground outside the base. In a life-or-death struggle, Acting L/Cpl Gurung continued to lash out with the blade.

He said: ‘He was quite a bit bigger than me. I just hit him in the hand, body, I just started to hit him.

‘I just thought, “I don’t want to die. If I am alive I can save my colleagues”.

‘I thought, “Before he does something I have to do something”. I was like a madman.’

Faced with his ferocity, the Taliban turned and fled. Acting L/Cpl Gurung’s citation said he had displayed the ‘highest levels of gallantry and courage’.

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Council facing £150,000 bill after squatters trash ex-library

Squatters have trashed a former south London library, which is set to be turned into a cinema, leaving town hall chiefs with a huge bill to clean up the mess.

They have also disturbed asbestos at Nettlefold Hall, in West Norwood. The clear-up costs for Labour-run Lambeth Council are expected to top £150,000.

The library closed two years ago.  Squatters moved into the empty building earlier in the summer and were only evicted after a court order was obtained six weeks ago.

Library closures across London have been opposed by the Evening Standard’s Save Our Libraries campaign,  backed by leading authors including Will Self, Martina Cole and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Lambeth’s conservative group leader John Whelan said: “The principal concern is that all these grand plans for a cinema and cultural hub are retreating into the distance.

“It is a huge waste, there is a temporary library but it is very limited and the community is losing out. The library has been shut for two years. As the weeks, months and years pass by doubts over the project increase. My worry is the building will be demolished and turned into flats.”

City Screen Limited, which is planning a cinema and library for the site, has maintained it is still committed to the project. So far only the basement area of the building, which held burial records from neighbouring West Norwood Cemetery, has been cleared.

Lambeth Council has asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to change squatting laws to cover commercial premises following the damage at Nettlefold Hall.

Councillor Sally Prentice, member for culture and leisure,  said the cinema plans were still in place.

She added: “Properties like Nettlefold Hall are being trashed and the law prevents us from acting quickly enough to save the situation.

“If commercial squatting was illegal, Nettlefold Hall would have been cleared within 24 hours, avoiding the very frustrating delay to this development and the estimated clean-up bill in excess of £150,000.”

 

‘Meticulous’ Wimbledon cat burglar targets homes of the rich

The intruder, who “meticulously” dismantles security alarms, was snapped by an internal camera as he struck at an exclusive house just yards from the All England Wimbledon tennis club.

Scotland Yard today released the image of the burglar and revealed that he is wanted for at least 35 similar break-ins at wealthy homes in Wimbledon Village.

Detectives say the suspect can spend several days plotting his break-ins and carefully cuts CCTV cables and alarms so that he climb into houses without detection or being spotted on camera.

Often the owners of properties are unaware that they have been burgled. The man, described as white and in his 30s or 40s, steals jewellery and cash and targets safes.

The first incident dates back to 2006 and the new image released by the Met today shows the man during a burglary on a home in Bathgate Road, Wimbledon on March 29 this year when he got away with a quantity of cash and jewellery.

He is known to target wealthy homes and some larger properties in Bathgate Road can fetch nearly £10 million.

Detective Constable Simon Callcott, of Merton CID, said: “He can spend several days plotting a route into a house and cuts CCTV cables around the houses so he is not seen.

“He is very meticulous, very thorough and very tidy.

“He sometimes steals relatively small amounts of cash which people might not notice has gone missing. Sometimes people do not know he has been there.”

The suspect uses ladders to scale fences into properties and is also known to climb the exterior of homes to break in through upstairs windows.

Detectives say one possible clue is that he may drive a dark Vauxhall Astra or Corsa which was spotted near-by one burglary last year.

The intruder wears a track suit, gloves and a hat and, so far, has left few if any clues behind him.

He has been known to remove small safes from houses during break-ins.

Police also released two images of the suspect caught on CTV outside a house in Arthur Road, Wimbledon during an attempted burglary in January last year.

Detective Supt Dave Palmer of Merton Police said: “This latest picture is being released as it provides a much clear image of the suspect and we hope that someone will come forward and provide information that will allow police to prosecute this offender and prevent any further residents becoming victims to his criminal activity.”

The latest Met figures show the number of break-ins in London is down overall by around five per cent, though some boroughs show significant increases.

In Richmond burglary is up by 26 per cent and in Sutton the number of break-ins is rising at 18 per cent. In Merton burglary rates are falling by eight per cent.

Hackney mansion squatters: ‘There’s benefits to having us here,’ but neighbours disagree

Squatters have taken over a 300 year old mansion in Hackney and today insisted they brought “numerous benefits” to the building.

The Grade II-listed property at 195 Mare Street was empty for several years, but was recently sold to a developer.

But about 10 squatters have moved in, saying they are fixing it up and posting a note to the owner in a window, stating: “We are very willing to negotiate an arrangement for our mutual benefit.

“There are numerous benefits for having squatters in a disused building, we can provide/assist in upkeep, ensure security of the building and provide monetary benefits.”

Grisly: the squatters’ notice … with dead mouse attached

Neighbours, however, hit out at how easy it had been for the squatters to take over the “prime location”.

Film maker Dave Aspinall, 34, said: “I’m paying £1,900 a month for a one-bed flat so it’s annoying and unfair when you see others living for free.”

Michelle Watkins, 36, who runs a pop-up shop, added: “We all work really hard. It’s not right – this is a prime location. The rent for my three-bed flat which I share is £2,400 a month.”

An architect, 32, who would only identify himself as Charlie, criticised the speed with which the squatters moved in, adding: “It literally happened as soon as it changed hands. As soon as the security guards left they were in. They have not given the developer a chance.”

The property, which was built in 1699, was a family home for 150 years before being transformed into the Elizabeth Fry Institute for the Reformation of Women Prisoners in 1860 which it remained until 1913, a period commemorated by a plaque on the gatepost.

Jewellery designer William Cheshire: Fed up with it being empty

It then became a working men’s club, the Lansdowne Liberal and Radical Club – latterly the New Lansdowne Social Club – which closed down in 2003.

The squatters said they have been repairing the property, tidying the garden and sorting out the electricity and plumbing.

They also held a public meeting to inform people of their plans.

One of the organisers Max, 23, originally from south-west London, said their goals were to see the building used – rather than lying empty – as a place to benefit the local community and protest against the new anti-squatting legislation.

He told the Standard: “It’s a beautiful building and we have done a lot of research into it over the years.

“The land is probably worth more than the building… there is insurmountable damage and the costs to repair it would be a lot greater so the developer is waiting for it to fall down. We have not seen him, he has not been round.

“If they wanted to fix it up and open it to the community then we would have no problem with that – it’s the wasting we have a big issue with.”

Residential squatting was criminalised last September, but the law does not currently apply to commercial buildings like Mare Street, although 24 MPs backed an early day motion to change this in the last parliamentary session.

Ownership of the building has passed from one developer to another and in 2006, permission was granted, although never taken up, to convert it into a restaurant and luxury flats.

In 2009, squatters moved in and fixed the property up, but they were evicted a year later when it was repossessed.

Currell Commercial, which recently sold the site, declined to reveal the name of its client and the Land Registry is yet to be updated.

Squatters take a commercial break

A loud bang goes off. I jump. “Don’t worry, it isn’t a bomb, it’s only a firework. This is Chelsea, you know,” says Ben.

Indeed it is. I am in London’s richest borough, in the Cross Keys, a gorgeous old pub that welcomed Whistler, Sargent and Turner as regulars and in more recent years hosted engagement parties for Pippa Middleton’s set. The fires are blazing, the battered old Chesterfields are comfortable, the tea is piping hot.

Except Ben is not the barman. He is a squatter, who has welcomed me in from behind a boarded-up door. The pub closed a few months ago, after the owner said it was losing too much money.

Along with 16 others, a rag-tag collection of homeless, students and middle-class charity workers, Tom has moved into the vacant pub and made it his temporary home.

Most of them came from the old BT headquarters in Holborn – the Hobo Hilton, as it was nicknamed – and this week they have lost a court hearing and will be evicted from the pub. Where will they move to? Another commercial property.

Welcome to the new world of squatting, far removed from the image of grungy bedsits in the wrong end of town, where the whiff of soft drugs failed to mask the stench of unwashed residents. Modern office blocks, warehouses, pubs and clubs are the venues of choice for today’s modern squatter.

And the Coalition government is responsible.

On September 1, the law changed, beefing up homeowners’ rights. Squatting, which for three decades was a civil, not a criminal offence, is now outlawed in residential properties. One person has already been sentenced to 12 weeks behind bars. However, commercial properties are not affected by the change in the law.

So the squatters have started moving into the increasing number of empty business premises that have emerged as the result of the recession.

David Marsden, property litigation partner at law firm Charles Russell, says of the change in the law: “It has worked. It is immediately noticeable.” Peter Mooney, who runs a bailiff company, says: “It’s all sorts of buildings: office blocks, industrial warehouses, even one local authority leisure centre, which had been used by the squatters to host a rave. Any vacant commercial properties are vulnerable.”

Marsden adds that most squatters are very well-informed. “The moment the law changed, you almost instantly saw the disappearance of the Section 6 notice on buildings [the notice which informed any potential bailiff that they needed a court order].”

Now there is usually a “144 notice” on commercial properties where squatters have moved in. It states that “this is not a residential building”, showing that the new residents know their rights and know they are not committing a criminal act.

Outside the Cross Keys there is one of these notices. Alongside it is a rather pretty sign, decorated with pictures of flowers, saying: “Hello Neighbours”, promising the Chelsea residents that they will not be noisy.

Further proof, if needed, that this is no ordinary squat.

Inside, the pub has been looked after. The bar and restaurant (wagyu beefburger with truffle fries used to be on the menu at £16) are pretty tidy and the squatters say that they have cleared up the mouse problem and leak they discovered when they moved in. The glasses behind the bar have been cleaned and the ashtrays and empty coffee cups are less messy than the average student digs.

Indeed, maybe it’s the boarded-up windows and low lighting, or the roll-up cigarettes, but the whole atmosphere reminds me of being back at university, where tedious, interminable late-night “debate” replaced normal adult conversation.

Ben, 19, from Surrey, wearing a Barbour jacket and rather natty wool shirt from Muji, was studying for his A-levels in economics, further maths and biology before he dropped out for a variety of complicated reasons he skirts over. He says: “I don’t agree with squatting in a residential home. At the end of the day it is owned by an individual, not a corporation.” His comment immediately sparks another heated debate over what is a corporation and whether, if the property is owned by the mortgage company, not an individual, it is OK to squat there.

I end up having to be referee between Arthur, who fancies himself as a rabble-rouser – “they are frauds, they are enslaving us to debt and it is totally immoral, that is why we are squatting” – and Ruby, softly spoken and matronly, who is the moderate among them. At one point she takes me aside, and says: “If they’d just occasionally take a shower, they would be taken more seriously.”

The arguments are very good-natured, in spite of, or maybe because of, some of them tucking into a bottle of 1983 Cognac (a present from one of their grandmothers, they insist).

They all have different reasons for squatting, but they are adamant that an empty commercial property is fair game.

Ruby says: “The last flat I was staying in I used up 80 per cent of my earnings on rent, and it was owned by an absentee landlord and the damp was so bad I ended up living in a tent in the garden. But living here, I can now go out and work and do something interesting.”

This particular group of articulate squatters is, if not supported, then certainly tolerated by the residents, many of whom are fairly resentful of the pub’s owner trying to convert the building into a £10 million luxury home complete with a basement swimming pool.

Arthur says: “We are helping to save this pub. We have let potential buyers in to inspect the property. We’ve cleaned it up, made it habitable.”

 

Many of these squatters believe they have a higher purpose – rather than just the need for a free mattress to sleep on. In recent years a number of increasingly high-profile commercial properties have been transformed by squatters into “art spaces”. These have included the former Mexican embassy and the magnificent old Mayfair headquarters of Reader’s Digest, where plays, concerts and exhibitions were hosted.

However, lawyers who represent landlords say tidy squatters remain unusual.

Michele Freyne, partner and head of property litigation at law firm Howard Kennedy, says: “I’ve been dealing with it for years, and some squatters live in places and really look after them, but many squatters really do trash the place. You see a lot of gratuitous, unnecessary mess.”

Marsden at Charles Russell says that the bare minimum cost to a commercial landlord of evicting squatters, even friendly ones, is £2,000 in court expenses. The less friendly ones strip the buildings of wiring and copper before leaving.

One thing is clear: squatting in commercial properties is on the increase and not going to go away, as more businesses go bust and youth unemployment and homelessness remains high.

As Marsden says: “Pubs are prime targets for squatters. And an increasing number of pubs are closing down. They are commercial properties, but usually come with living accommodation. And who doesn’t want to live in a pub?”

HOW HAVE SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS CHANGED?

On September 1, a three-decades-old law that famously granted “squatters’ rights” was dismantled. In its place was introduced a piece of legislation that made it far easier for a homeowner to kick out a squatter and criminalised the activity.

Previously, if a property was vacant, a squatter could enter (as long as they had done so peacefully – and it was almost impossible to prove who had broken a window once the house was vacant) and live there. To evict squatters, the homeowner usually had to go to the expense and hassle of going to court.

Michele Freyne, partner and head of property litigation at Howard Kennedy, says that the police were “often reluctant to act” under the old law.

Since September 1, those who squat – anyone who “knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser” – in a residential building can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000 under section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act.

The police are now free to enter and search residential properties if there is a suspected squatter. One man has already received a 12-week custodial sentence under the new Act.

Commercial properties, however, are free from this rule change. This means that landlords of commercial buildings still need to go to the trouble of going to court to evict squatters. It also means that squatters are now turning to pubs and other business premises.

Violence as squatters evicted after 13 years

Violence as squatters evicted after 13 years

Squatters who have occupied six Victorian mansion blocks worth £5 million have been forced to leave the buildings after 13 years.

Squatters who have occupied six Victorian mansion blocks worth £5 million have been forced to leave the buildings after 13 years.

A total of 75 people, including children, were removed from the flats in south London, following violent clashes with police and bailiffs.

The raid saw the end of a two year battle by the local council to evict the squatters, with some throwing yellow paint at police, setting bins on fire and shouting ‘scum’ at officers as they tried to remove them.

Two people were arrested, one for criminal damage and one for affray as squatters and protesters who had gathered to support the cause, were removed from Rushcroft Road in Brixton, south west London.

A group of ten protesters tried to resist police by chanting as bailiffs broke down doors of the buildings.

One woman, who lives in a flat on the street and pays £1,300 in rent said the eviction, which took place in the early hours of Monday, was terrifying. She told the Daily Mail: “I don’t think it’s at all fair they don’t have to pay rent, it’s a nice area.”

Lambeth Council said it had not been paid any rent for the 47 flats since 2000 and the council now plans to sell three of the blocks – which could raise £5.5 million. The council said this money will be invested in new schools, town centres and housing across Lambeth.

The remaining three blocks are expected to be used for social housing to create 22 new homes for families.

Romanian squatters moved from Hendon FC’s old ground

Dozens of Romanian squatters have been evicted from the site of a former football club in north London.

Up to 68 people were moved from the old Hendon Football Club in Claremont Road, Cricklewood, in a joint operation by police and border officials.

Barnet Council said the squatters had been living in makeshift shelters without sanitation for months.

The Romanian Embassy and homeless charity Thames Reach both backed the eviction.

The operation to remove the squatters began at about 05:00 BST.

‘Squalor’

It is the third time the site has been occupied by squatters since the club left in 2009.

Councillor Dean Cohen said: “This is suburban London and several residents have raised the issue of the squatters with me.

“This is knocked-together accommodation with no sanitation and the inherent health risks that (this) brings.

“I’d like to say a particular thank you to the Romanian Embassy who have walked a very careful line between the responsibilities they have to their citizens and the understanding that this kind of squalor has no place in London.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Immigration papers were served on a number of individuals of Eastern European origin, some of whom have indicated they are willing to return to their home country voluntarily.

“We will now be dealing with those accordingly.”

Squatters invade Grade I listed Georgian office block as they carry on living the high life after eviction from eight-bedroom mansion

Occupy protestors who were evicted after setting up home in a £3million mansion are living the high-life once again – by squatting in a plush city centre office block.

The squatters were evicted from the grand eight-bedroom house in affluent Clifton, Bristol, after residents complained of noisy house parties and golf balls being hit from the roof.

Now 14 members of the mob have moved into the abandoned four storey office-block Bristol City centre after one of them spotted an open window in the vacant building.

Unwelcome guests: Occupy protestors have set up home in this plush city centre office blockUnwelcome guests: Occupy protestors have set up home in this plush city centre office block
Occupy protestors want to assure the owners they are 'looking after' the buildingOccupy protestors want to assure the owners they are ‘looking after’ the building

Squatter Mathew, 17, said the group have been in the Grade I listed building – situated in the largest Georgian square outside of London – for two weeks after climbing scaffolding and entering through an open window.

 

He said: ‘We intend to stay here as long as we can. We got in through an open window two weeks ago and we will be staying for as long as possible.

‘We have secured the place and have cleared up inside. We are looking after it and keeping it secure.

‘We are trying to contact the owners and we want to reassure them that we are looking after the place.’

Matthew, from Scotland, admitted most of the occupants were young, some of whom had occupied prestigious Clifton Wood Mansion, Bristol, before they were evicted in April.

This is the path of destruction left by squatters at the mansion in the Clifton Wood area of BristolThis is the path of destruction left by squatters at the mansion in the Clifton Wood area of Bristol

 

Grand Cliftonwood House, Clifton, Bristol where squatters moved in before they headed to the office blockGrand Cliftonwood House, Clifton, Bristol where squatters moved in before they headed to the office block

He said: ‘Most of the people living here have been kicked out by their families and have got no place to go.’

The office is located next door to Queen Square, which was originally developed in the early eighteenth century.

The 60,000 square-foot block boasts two lifts, basement car parking and changing and shower facilities and is currently awaiting commercial development.

Letting agent Alder King said that the building has been empty while prospective bidders were lined up.

A spokeswoman for the estate agents said: ‘We are aware of the situation with squatters. This is something we advised the police about to prevent it happening.’

Avon and Somerset Police say they are also aware of the squatters but that the issue is a civil matter and one for the council.

Over 50 police officers raided the squatters’ previous home in the prosperous suburb of Clifton Wood, in April, and five people were charged after bottles were thrown from the rooftop.

Some of the squatters were previously living on College Green, Bristol, as part of the ‘Occupy’ protests, but were evicted after they turned the pristine lawn into a muddy swamp.

William Bernett, a passer-by, said that he alerted the authorities to the squatters’ presence after hearing banging noises.

He said: ‘I recognised some of the squatters from Clifton.

‘As the police arrived at the scene the squatters shouted down ‘We have squatters’ rights’.’

The group occupying the listed building have left a notice outside outlining their rights.

The police said there were no issues with the current occupants and will normally only take action against squatters if they commit crimes when entering or staying in a property.

Occupy London Squat at UBS Puts Empty Buildings in Spotlight

Squatting — the occupation of land and buildings by people who have no legal title to them — has a long history in Britain. Participants in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 squatted on uncultivated acreage.

In 1946 thousands of homeless British occupied abandoned homes in London as well as empty military bases. A squatters’ advisory service publishes a guide to the practice of finding and living in unoccupied property. In London, Bristol, and Brighton, three of Britain’s big squatting centers, it’s never too hard to find a place. The government estimates 20,000 squatters live in Britain.

Now the British followers of the Occupy Wall Street movement are fusing old-fashioned squatting with the sophistication of 21st century protest, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Jan. 30 edition. For more than two months before their peaceful eviction on Jan. 25, members of Occupy London lived and worked in a vacant building across from UBS AG (UBSN)’s London headquarters in the City. The squatters suspended banners from the windows proclaiming such slogans as “UBS You Owe Us” and “You Can’t Evict An Idea.”

The building belongs to UBS itself, which had been planning to renovate it. Until, that is, about 30 members of the London group entered the premises on Nov. 18, according to Pete Phoenix, a coordinator for what he calls the “Occupy UBS movement” and basically the house boss of the squat. The number of squatters subsequently rose to as many as 60.

Financial Literacy

They participated in discussion groups and gave lessons in financial literacy: A Jan. 7 meeting advised on how to investigate financial crime. Positive press clippings and slogans like “Homes Not Jails” were plastered on white walls. A pair of Eastern Europeans guarded the entrance. Occupy London members also offered tours of Canary Wharf, the metropolitan area’s most cosseted office complex, which the guide pointed out is situated in one of London’s most blighted boroughs.

British law considers squatting largely a matter for civil courts rather than criminal. That distinction makes it hard to evict squatters quickly. The Swiss bank’s extended efforts to expel the Occupy London squatters highlight the difficulties. Eventually, after much wrangling, a court issued an eviction notice and the protesters left. “The Bank of Ideas goes on,” said Sean Boyle, one of the squatters.

For homeowners, the cost of evicting squatters can spiral into thousands of pounds, said Alexander Ellis, a broker at Tullet Prebon Plc (TLPR), whose parents’ home in Bath, England, was once occupied by squatters.

Breaking and Entering

“It’s nothing more than legalized breaking and entering,” Ellis said in an e-mail. “Squatters normally break in to properties, often claiming that they found a door or window open, and live there for free while causing considerable damage.”

There’s still Occupy London’s Finsbury Square camp opposite Bloomberg’s London headquarters, an Occupy London camp outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a squat at Old Street Magistrates’ Court. About a 15-minute walk north of the UBS building, the court has become another temporary home of members of the Occupy London group.

They are mixing there with Lithuanians: Since the expansion of the EU’s borders to the east, some Eastern Europeans have won the right to live in any member state. A 22-year-old Lithuanian man named Siggy gives a tour of the building. It’s been vacant for 16 years, he says, while showing a wood-paneled courtroom, the only one that isn’t in disrepair.

Blair, King

The courthouse is being used by Occupy London for a series of mock trials of Britain’s 1 percent. These began on Jan. 19, with “the case for and against the prosecution of Tony Blair,” in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trial was streamed on the Internet: Blair was found guilty.

A trial on Jan. 21 seeking to assert the rights of shareholders against the management of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was postponed in favor of a tour of West London’s hedge funds. The courthouse still sports its jail cells, and the squatters have reserved them for Blair, former RBS Chief Executive Officer Fred Goodwin, and Bank of England Governor Mervyn King.

Under pressure from the authorities, these squatters, too, may be leaving any day now. “There are a million empty buildings in the U.K.,” said Phoenix. “Why can’t some of them be used for homes, communities, or spaces for self-employed people?”

Wary Landlords

Though Occupy London is leaving some of their protest sites, landlords should be wary of future demonstrations, according to Akhil Markanday of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s Real Estate Disputes Group.

“I doubt this is the end of the saga,” said Markanday, a senior associate, by e-mail. “We are cautioning vigilance at this time and encourage landowners to review their property portfolios for those which may be at risk, such as those that are vacant or attached to open spaces.”

After the Occupy London movement loses momentum, the more traditional class of squatters will remain. Peter Myton, the operations manager for London-based Ambika Security, which protects vacant properties from squatters, says the company’s business has risen in the past year.

Should the government tighten housing subsidy laws, even more people could be pushed into the streets. At the same time, members of Parliament have discussed making squatting an act of criminal trespass.

“If people are desperate, and they’re desperate enough to squat, I don’t think criminalizing it is going to change anything,” Myton said.