As temperatures hovered at around 3C this morning, residents in a north London suburb were waking up to get ready for work.
But already gathered in a quiet street in Stanmore, since before the sun had risen and temperatures began to increase, were queues of migrants looking for a day’s work.
Just 19, Iusti came to the UK four months ago from Botosani in northern Romania. His father died in August, his mother lives in Italy, his sister in Spain and he has a 16-year-old girlfriend, Valentina, back home. Her father works, earning about £160 a month. Iusti says around 30 or 40 men, Romanians and Romanian gypsies, turn out at around 6am every morning looking for work. Some have been in the UK just a few months and speak little English, and most send money home.
He said he came here on his own to earn money. Soon after driving to London in a van with seven other people he found work near Victoria and Pimlico, labouring for three weeks.
Work has been sporadic and he now lives with 13 other people in a house on an estate in Queensbury, Harrow, doing occasional jobs in the area as a roofer.
The large groups of men were seen standing in the road in long queues, hopeful to pick up work from passing builders and tradesmen in white vans who would pay them for an extra pair of hands today.
So many have started to gather in the leafy London suburb that the queue had spilled out to in front of Selco warehouse in Honeypot Lane, which appeared to have security guards standing outside to ensure the large groups were kept under control.
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