A YOUNG father said he is living in constant fear for his family and is terrified of waking to find his children gone, after squatters moved into the block of flats where he lives.

The dad, who for his safety remains unnamed, moved into St Kilda House, in Lindisfarne Close, Popley, owned by Vivid Housing, five years ago, and said his family has experienced problems from the outset.

He believes the flat was occupied by a drug user, and said: “The guy in one of the flats is a druggie and the police told me he was a heroin user. It started getting much worse about two years ago.

“Some people pulled his back window off so it’s all boarded up. He was raided by the police three times and the front door has never been fixed so for ages they used the window to get into the property which was making loads of noise.”

Eventually, the tenant was evicted from the flat, but the resident said it was left insecure resulting in squatters moving in around two months ago.

Basingstoke Gazette: The front door to the flat overtaken by squattersThe front door to the flat overtaken by squatters

He said: “People come and go all night and there’s shouting and screaming and people banging on walls. My girls’ bedroom is right above the front door and they always come into our bedroom because they don’t want to sleep in their beds.”

His family was then subjected to a terrifying ordeal around a month ago, when people in the flat tried to break into his home with a saw.

He said: “I went outside and they were shouting that they were going to kill me. They were trying to saw their way into our property.”

The man, who works as a caretaker, said police attended and have given the family alarms should anything happen again.

He explained that the man squatting in the flat has now locked himself inside the property during the day, and only unlocks the padlock and chain at night.

He now lives in constant fear of what will happen next, adding: “Me and my wife married two years ago and it causes arguments all the time. I feel like I’m doing an inadequate job of protecting us all.

“On a daily basis I feel like I can’t go to sleep. I’m always on edge with any noises and have sleep deprivation. We put the girls to bed at 7pm and at 8-9pm they start opening the door and the girls come running out and into our bed so I sleep on the sofa and that affects me and my wife.

“I’m most worried about going to sleep and waking to find someone over me because they have broken in, or someone breaking in and my kids are gone.”

The father has spoken to Vivid on numerous occasions, but said they have failed to resolve the matter, adding: “They are trying to get him out but he now has squatters’ rights so it could take another two months. I don’t know if I can do another two months of this.”

He blames the housing association for failing to secure the property and never replacing the front door, and is now withholding his rent, adding: “It’s been going on for so long and I feel like they aren’t doing anything.”

Councillor David Potter, who represents Popley East, said: “We are dismayed at the situation which has been allowed to develop at this property over a long period and the appalling affect it has had on neighbours and the local community.

“Vivid’s officers have tried their best to respond to our representations but it appears Vivid is no longer overly concerned with its responsibilities as a social landlord and prefers to put its resources into new housing developments.

“This property is a disgrace both in terms of its appearance and the anti-social drug dealing activities it supports and should be locked up securely and those who have occupied it unlawfully, expelled immediately. This is a blight on a respectable neighbourhood.”

Vivid has been contacted for comment.

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