Following legislation that came into force last year that criminalised squatting in residential premises, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has called directly on the Prime Minister to now back the campaign to extend the legislation to cover commercial properties as well.
Mike was instrumental in the criminalising of squatting in residential properties. As a consequence of Mike’s role in passing the new law, squatters have led a vitriolic campaign against the Member of Parliament on Twitter and routinely call for Mike’s death. A whole website has even been created to monitor Mike’s death.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mike said: “Last year, Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 made it a criminal offence to squat in a residential property. While the law has been a tremendous success, the consequence has been that squatters are now deliberately targeting commercial properties.
A salient example of this was seen within my own constituency just two months after the law had come into effect when a bunch of squatters broke into a former school that was just about to be let as a refurbished office suite. The squatters caused significant misery and distress and left an appalling mess after themselves.”
Commenting, Mike said: “The new law criminalising squatting in residential properties has been a fantastic deterrent against these bone idle layabouts. However, commercial properties are now routinely targeted by squatters, so it is imperative that the law is extended so that all properties are protected. The Prime Minister was very supportive of the initial legislation so I am confident that he will back criminalising squatting outright.”