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Fury at Thames Water over 'heavy handed' eviction of homeless

'We were doing no harm and got on well with people living nearby, who were kind and sympathetic towards us'

John Garvey


01635 886628

Fury at Thames Water over 'heavy handed' eviction of homeless

UTILITIES giant Thames Water has provoked fury by evicting homeless tent dwellers on one of the coldest nights of the year.

Some of the victims claimed what little they had, including tent poles, was damaged during the operation, leaving them completely exposed to the elements.

Eviction notices, dated Wednesday, November 29, were addressed to “the owners and occupants of tents, Speen Water Treatment Works, Moor Lane, Newbury” and warned: “If you do not leave immediately today... together with all of your belongings, we will... evict you and have instructed our bailiffs to do so on our behalf.”

The notices went on to warn that any property would be seized and sold, and concluded: “Neither Thames Water Utilities Ltd nor [enforcement agents] Bryan Lecoche Ltd will accept any actual or consequential liability as a result of carrying out the above action.”

One of those evicted, Paul ‘Charlie’ Charlesworth, said he became homeless after losing, first his job and then his home after sustaining devastating leg injuries in a road accident.

He said: “I came back to my tent to find it had been opened and the notice left inside.

“We were doing no harm and got on well with people living nearby, who were kind and sympathetic towards us.”

Others claimed that tent poles had been damaged, rendering them useless and forcing their owners to sleep rough without even that form of protection.

In February, a homeless person’s tent on the Kennet and Avon Canal bank was destroyed in a suspected arson attack, although no one was hurt.

Thirty-four-year-old Mr Charlesworth said: “We stuck together for safety at night but now we’ve had to split up.”

A spokesman for Healthwatch West Berkshire, Andrew Sharp, said: “We are very, very concerned that one of society’s most vulnerable groups, who suffer some of life’s largest health inequalities, with an average life span of 47 years, are being evicted in such a heavy-handed manner.

“There are allegations of damage being done to the very few possessions these people own.

“Some of them are in a desperate state.”

He added: “Thames Water carried out this action on one of the coldest days and nights of the year.

“We would be very interested to discuss this with Thames Water, who made £605m last year.”

A spokeswoman for Thames Water, Becky Trotman, said: "We allowed the campers to stay for longer so they had the option of visiting a new homeless shelter. We eventually asked those who hadn’t already moved on to leave a couple of days later.

"Our sites contain important infrastructure to enable us to supply drinking water to millions of homes, so we cannot put the security of those sites at risk by allowing people to camp on them."

She added: “The issue of homelessness is one we take seriously and in the last few months we’ve been supporting Berkshire-based charity Launchpad with their work to raise awareness of the problem.

"We have also made a donation through our charities’ committee to a homeless project which helps rough sleepers.”


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Article comments

  • ashRe

    09/12/2017 - 21:09

    Ah how the mighty have fallen. This rat in the picture is no other than Paul Keith charlesworth, a scum bag low life from Turnpike that as part of a gang of other rats made my life so bad at school I tried to end it. Looks like karma has finally caught up with you and you know what... I feel sorry for you. As for the reporter I don’t understand what TW earnings has anything to do with this? This group were on land that is not safe for either them or the general public and of course is deemed a high risk. Not all corporate companies are hell bent on world domination. It was considerate of them to give extra time. For all the genuine struggling people out there especially our homeless veterans I always think of you and help when I can but this scum bag needs to be avoided like the plague he is.


  • sdm36

    08/12/2017 - 19:07

    Ahh Thames Water the tax dodging sociopthic company hellbent on destroying all in it path. Par for the course. I'm very much looking forward to the day where I can choose who supplies my water, and I suspect many other people are too. It will not be Thames Water!!!


  • Louise


    08/12/2017 - 08:08

    With no toilet facilities I'd have a concern regards contamination of water supply.


    • redhead

      08/12/2017 - 15:03

      where do u think ducks, swans and fish go to the toilet? it all goes through the treatment centre to purify it!


  • mbaillie

    08/12/2017 - 07:07

    what a bunch off heart less TOSSERS Thames Water are