A house with boarded windows and a homeless action group flag outside
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Squatting becomes criminal act in England and Wales

Squatting in a residential building in England and Wales will become a criminal offence on Saturday, meaning squatters could face jail or a fine.

Ministers said it would offer better protection for homeowners and "slam shut the door on squatters once and for all".

The maximum penalty will be six months in jail, a £5,000 fine, or both.

But campaigners warned the new law could criminalise vulnerable people and lead to an increase in rough sleeping.

John Maguire reports.

  • 31 Aug 2012