London Evening Standard/London
Nearly half of the people caught breaking the new anti-squatting law in London are from Romania, Met police figures revealed.
Forty-one Romanians have been prosecuted or cautioned for squatting in a residential building in the capital since legislation to outlaw the practice came into effect last September.
That represents 45% of the total of 92 people found breaking the law in London over the six-month period.
The next biggest group of offenders is from Poland, which has seen 16 of its citizens prosecuted or cautioned by Met. Only 13 Britons have broken the new law.
The Met figures will fuel the debate about the impact of the scrapping next year of migration controls which limit the right of Romanians and Bulgarians to work in Britain.
Opponents argue that the change, which is required under EU law, will lead to a large influx of citizens from both countries.
However, some will see the squatting statistics as justification for ending the migration rules — which only allow Romanians and Bulgarians to work here in agricultural jobs or as self-employed — because the reform could reduce the numbers living in Britain without the income to pay rent.
The new figures, provided by the Met in response to a request by the Evening Standard, provide the first snapshot of the impact of the new squatting law.