Posted on March 30, 2010

Woman Stunned to Find Romanian Migrant Living in Her Shed (He Enjoyed Picnics in Her Garden–But He Does Recycle)

Arthur Martin, Daily Mail (London), March 30, 2010

It is a little on the damp side and popular with several species of spider.

But the obvious discomforts of Tilly Newman’s garden shed were of little concern to a Romanian immigrant who decided to call it home.

While the Newman family were at work, he would make picnics in the garden and chat over the fence to the neighbours, who thought he was a legitimate lodger.

After each meal he thoughtfully put his rubbish into the correct recycling boxes.

And at night he used the garden hose to wash himself before bedding down on one of the sun loungers in the shed, using a sheet to protect the fabric.

Miss Newman, 22, an accountant, became suspicious when gifts–including a 6in Jesus statue–started appearing on the patio of the family home in Bromley, South-East London.

However, it was only when she went to spring clean her 10ft by 12ft shed that she came across the Romanian.

She said: ‘He was lying there quite happily and put two thumbs up at me when I opened the shed door. He said, “nice shed”. It was all very bizarre.

‘While I was speaking to him he was drinking a carton of orange juice.

‘He then got up and put it in the correct recycling box, almost as if he lived there.’

Miss Newman called on a friend for advice and the pair demanded to know what he was doing. He said he had been living in the shed for a month because he had ‘nowhere else to live’.

The Newman family took the 26-year-old immigrant to the police station, where officers put him on bail for a public order offence and ordered him not to return to the shed.

But last Sunday he went back and police gave him a final warning.

Miss Newman, who lives in the house with her brother James, 25, and their mother, said: ‘We thought we had dealt with the situation but then he came back.

‘I’m not sure what he wants and I just could not believe he had been there for a month. It is not very nice and I do not like being in the house on my own now.

‘I want the police to do more to stop him from coming back.’

Miss Newman has put a new lock on the shed in the hope of stopping the man from returning.

Her brother added: ‘We sometimes heard running water at night and didn’t know what it was, but it turned out he was using the garden hose to wash himself.’

Bromley police said: ‘We warned the man to stay away from the home when the Newman family brought him into the police station.

‘But they did not want to press charges so we did not take the matter further. If this situation has now changed then they should contact us.’

It is not the first case of its kind. A couple in Kempston, Bedfordshire, found two Polish men in their shed and claimed they tried to eat their daughter’s rabbit.

At least six sheds in Peterborough were used as homes by immigrants earlier this month.

Last week a court heard how a Northampton man returned home after forgetting his wallet to find that a Romanian family had moved in.

[The stories of the Northampton man and of the Peterborough sheds are told more fully here. Yet another story of gypsy squatters is available here.]