Town hailed a ‘safer place’ after problem migrants sent home

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TOWN centre businesses have welcomed action to send home three homeless migrants who have been responsible for a “catalogue of crimes”.

MP John Hayes said the Lithuanians had been arrested up to 15 times and charged on numerous occasions for crimes ranging from anti-social behaviour to theft.

Jason Rooke, chairman of Spalding and area Chamber of Trade, said their actions affected the whole town because they made it “uncomfortable” for shoppers to walk around.

He said: “Sending them home, if they are causing trouble, is always to be welcomed.

“These people have caused problems for town centre businesses and have affected the whole town because their actions put people off walking through the centre and make them uncomfortable, so this is certainly something to be welcomed.”

South Holland District Council says it has already seen a dramatic drop in the number of complaints about problems in the town centre since the group were removed last Tuesday, particularly a reduction in anti-social behaviour including harrassment, intimidation, drinking in the street and litter.

Sgt Stuart Brotherton, of Spalding Police, said: “It is known that these people were often committing crime to fund their lifestyle, which sadly was one of sleeping rough and causing community nuisance, more often than not while intoxicated.

“Their behaviour has not been welcomed by our communities and, in particular, the businesses of the town, with a welter of public complaints.

“Their removal will be seen as a positive move by the local agencies involved to reduce crime and public nuisance.”

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency explained that the three Lithuanians had been removed because they were not exercising their Treaty Rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Chief Immigration Officer Rachel Challis said: “We have worked closely with Lincolnshire Police and South Holland District Council to deal with the challenges presented by rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour.

“People from within the European Economic Area who have been in the country for longer than three months have to be working, studying or self-sufficient in order to have a right to stay, as required by EU law.

“If they are not, or don’t have a genuine prospect of doing so, the UK Border Agency expects them to return home.

“If they do not return home voluntarily we will take action to enforce their removal from the country.”