Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Husky's Fight Is Lost as the Bailiffs Evict Him from Site

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Husky's Fight Is Lost as the Bailiffs Evict Him from Site

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Woodcock and Toni Guillot Reporters news@gazettemedia.co.uk

A DEFIANT pensioner has been evicted from council buildings in Dormanstown.

John "Husky" Petch has been evicted from Redcar and Cleveland Council-owned Westfield Buildings, just off The Green, after a two-year battle.

The 66-year-old retired steelworker has had the use of the buildings for the last 15 years but at 5am yesterday, he was removed from the compound, where he keeps his collection of old farm machinery.

"I am beyond angry but that is not the point," said Husky. "It is about human rights.

"The council placed me here all those years ago and they don't have a right to remove me."

Husky said the bailiffs arrived at 5am but that he knew they were coming.

Upon their arrival, he climbed up to the top of the fence and strapped himself to it, but was later removed.

He was joined by a group of supporters who launched a "peaceful protest" shortly after his eviction.

An application to appeal the case had been made, and was being "forced through" to the Court of Appeal in London, Husky added.

Council leader Cllr George Dunning, said that the authority has "acted appropriately by repossessing the former depot in Dormanstown which has been illegally occupied by Mr Petch for some time now".

"This action was a last resort after all previous attempts to reach an agreed resolution failed and Mr Petch publicly indicated that he was simply refusing to move," he added.

"Significant efforts have been made to resolve the situation amicably over a long period and Mr Petch has had over two years to find alternative accommodation. Regrettably, he has refused to honour his previous agreements with the court and the council to vacate the property voluntarily.

"He has shown no interest at all in potential alternative sites and refused to co-operate with officers from the council who tried to help him.

"The only suggestion put forward by Mr Petch to resolve this situation has been for him to continue to occupy a smaller part of the site without payment of any rent. …

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