DEALING with illegal campers in Boston is a regular part of the the job for Boston Borough Council’s community safety team.
With horrendous living conditions, the team have a duty to remove homeless campers from council-owned land and also tell them where they can get help.
The Standard spotted such a site in undergrowth off the A16 Spalding Road and went along with the council yesterday (Tuesday) to see how they deal with them.
“Its your worst nightmare really,” said Peter Hunn, principle community safety officer. “The living conditions are unimaginable. We’ve all been camping before, but this isn’t camping.”
Situated in a wooded arear adjacent to the Somerfield store The Standard was lead to the site by Mr Hunn and anti-social behaviour officer Adam Eden.
“The job often involves a lot of trudging through fields, rubbish and, occasionally, human excrement,” said Mr Eden.
The team respond to calls from members of the public about illegal camp sites. They then go out and assess the site, and establish who owns the land.
On this occassion a Lithuanian man living in a tent there was spoken to and given a multi-lingual letter to explain he is on council land and has 24 hours to remove his tent and belongings. They also gave him a leaflet from charity Reconnections Lincolnshire, based at the council offices, which work to help homeless foreign nationals here live a better life back in their homeland. Over the past two years, the charity has helped almost 100 homeless people in the Boston area alone, to return to their home countries.
Once the notice has been issued to illegal campers, a cleansing team is sent out within the next 24 hours to clear it. The belongings are then stored at the council’s Fen Road Depot for a week. For private land, the owner has the responsibility of clearing the site.
Two other known sites were also visited by the team, on private land off Garfits Lane, and in a field in Havenside Country Park, in Fishtoft. Both sites had been abandoned.
“These are the only three illegal camp sites in the borough that we are aware of,” said Mr Hunn. “But there are around a dozen homeless people we regularly come into contact with that are quite happy to live this kind of lifestyle and don’t want to go home.”
Mr Eden added: “If some foreign nationals are prepared to live in these sort of conditions you have to wonder what life must have been like for them back in their home country.”