Bristol

Bristol Bearpit: 'Squatters stole £14,000 worth of kitchen equipment'

Damaged catering unit Image copyright Miriam Delogu
Image caption Equipment in the food outlet was found to have been destroyed

Squatters stole over £14,000 worth of kitchen equipment at a city centre area that is prone to anti-social behaviour, a catering firm's owner said.

Miriam Delogu said items were taken from a shipping container which housed her business, at the "Bearpit" beneath St James Barton Roundabout in Bristol.

The area was closed off and cleared of squatters by Bristol City Council last month.

The authority has been contacted for comment.

Ms Delogu said she discovered equipment from her food outlet, including an oven, was missing, and other items destroyed, when she inspected her shipping container for the first time since November.

The unit, which is owned by Bristol City Council, was moved to Bristol's waste recycling centre as part of a clear-up of the area.

"Anything that was good has been stolen. What is left has been completely damaged and is unsalvageable," she said.

Image caption The Bearpit was closed off and cleared of squatters by the council last month

"Everything was covered in drug paraphernalia, faeces and blood."

The Bearpit has been connected with anti-social behaviour, street drinking and drug use in recent years.

Squatters moved in last November, and the council closed the area off in June.

Ms Delogu said she had not been able to inspect her business premises since November because it was "too risky" to visit the area.

It was finally re-opened to the public last week after the squatters and several business premises housed in shipping containers were removed.

The council has also called on people to report anyone seen "tagging" after the Bearpit was defaced with vandalism just two days after it reopened.

A spokesman said it cost £250,000 to clean up the thoroughfare while it was closed for five weeks, and it had increased the fine for anyone who is caught.

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