Great Cornard (UK): Man defies police

From local mainstream press in Suffolk, UK:
Homeless man defies police to go on squatting in village pub

A squatter living in a closed Great Cornard pub has said he has no intention of leaving despite efforts by police to move him on.

David Vernon has been making himself at home at the Highbury Barn in Canhams Road for more than three weeks.

The 46-year-old moved into the pub, which is owned by Punch Taverns and shut in November 2012, after leaving his mother’s house in Sudbury.

Police visited the 18th century building on Tuesday to try to get him to come out, but were unsuccessful.

“I am not trying to cause any problems – I’m just trying to get on with my life,” said Mr Vernon.

“I am not doing any damage and, if anything, I am improving it. I have had a wonderful response from residents and it is a lovely building with a lot of character.”

Under UK law, it is not a crime to squat in a non-residential building without the owner’s permission, although police can take action if damage is caused, items stolen or a notice to leave is issued by a court.

A public consultation into future plans for the pub, which has seven bedrooms, ended on Tuesday. Punch Taverns is looking to turn it into a retail unit.

Mr Vernon, who has heart problems, said he would stay as long as he could.

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