Homeless migrants set up camp in middle of wealthy Mayfair despite police clearing the settlement amid reports of daily muggings and robberies
- Rough sleepers were cleared from Marble Arch, Mayfair, London on Thursday
- TFL said court order issued as last resort after other accommodation was offered
- The campers have avoided being displaced, now setting up nearby in Park Lane
- Robberies and muggings have increased in the area worrying local residents
Rough sleepers on cardboard mattresses and tents, accused of begging and pick pocketing, have been cleared by police from the affluent district of Mayfair.
Men, women and children in makeshift camps in the shadow of Marble Arch, Mayfair, were ordered to move by officers from private Transport for London land last week.
However the campers, thought to be Romanians and Bulgarians, moved their cardboard homes across to nearby Park Lane avoiding the displacement.
Tent City: The encampment was cleared in a police operation on Thursday but displacement has been resisted following the camp being moved
Tents have been left pitched on Park Lane, as rough sleepers can be seen rearranging their campsites
The so-called ‘tent city’ has been moved just over the road from its original site near to Marble Arch, in full view of the nearby Hilton hotel
This comes as crime in the area has recently seen a boost, particularly in regards to instances of anti-social behavior, muggings and robberies.
Shopping trolleys were piled with pots and pans, a broomstick, an accordion and a 32-inch plasma television, which a Romanian named Dan planned to sell ‘for a few hundred pounds’, according to The Telegraph.
Dan said he did not want to return to Romania and was living with no money, no job and no food.
Transport for London said the court order was a last resort after attempts to offer alternative accommodation proved unsuccessful.
The police were only called in by TFL as a last resort after revealing the original camp had been set up on private land belonging to the company
Residents have grown increasingly frustrated with the camp as blame for rising crime in the area is often placed on the camp
In the wake of the rough sleepers refuse has been scattered around the area as anti-social behavior is on the rise, troubling residents
During the early morning of Thursday, raid police officers overlooked the site to ensure there were no cases of modern slavery, which included people held against their will.
However those living in the ‘tent city’ have resisted deportation thanks to a High Court ruling made in 2017.
The Home Office policy states that the deportation of rough sleepers who are EU citizens is unlawful and broke freedom of movement rules.
This isn’t the first time Mayfair has seen a rough sleeping camp, another was previously set up in 2013
Shocking figures published by the Metropolitan Police state that 872 crimes of a violent or sexual nature were reported in the 12 months to July – a rate of more than two a day.
Thefts including shoplifiting were at a rate equivalent of more than 80 cases a week and a robbery was committed in the area every day.
This is in contrast to Hackney Central, east London, an area once associated with crime, which reported 493 violent and sexual offences.
Romanian immigrants once set up camp at Marble Arch, London, before the Olympics in 2012 (file image)
However Westminster council say comparison of the two is unfair given the central location of Mayfair.
Westminster Conservative councillor Ian Adams has warned against blaming the Romanian and Bulgarian rough sleepers for the rise in crime.
Mr Adams said: ‘The council very much recognises and shares the concerns of residents and businesses … around current levels of crime whether that is theft, robbery or other crimes.
‘Mayfair is increasingly becoming a magnet for the nighttime economy. It attracts a lot of wealthy people who are being targeted because of the expensive jewellery they are wearing.’