THERE are still two months before the visa ban on 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians is lifted – but residents in some of London’s finest addresses would be hard-pressed to tell.
Scores of the eastern Europeans are living rough on Park Lane, under Marble Arch and in Hyde Park.
Guests emerging from the Dorchester and Grosvenor House hotels yesterday were ambushed by hordes of gypsies begging, washing in fountains or sitting in ornamental gardens surrounded by their belongings.
Westminster City Council spends £500,000 a year cleaning up the rubbish and human waste they leave behind.
The Home Office has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on tickets to send the homeless and jobless migrants back to their own countries, only to see them reappear within weeks.
Many eastern Europeans exploit a loophole that allows them to stay in the UK beyond the 90-day limit for showing they are self-sufficient by leaving the country a day before the deadline and returning 24 hours later.
Earlier this month 35 people were arrested in a London-wide crackdown on organised begging gangs.
Hard-working, clean-living members of the EU should always be able to make their home in London
Nickie Aiken, Westminster’s cabinet member for Community Protection
The operation was carried out by the Met, Westminster City Council and the UK Border Force.
Yesterday councillor Nickie Aiken, Westminster’s cabinet member for Community Protection, said: “Hard-working, clean-living members of the EU should always be able to make their home in London.
“However, there will be no welcome mat for people who see Londoners as a soft touch and who export their own brand of anti-social behaviour to our city.”
The problem has become so bad that Romania has sent a police task force to help the Met deal with the squatters.
Angry residents say up to 100 unwanted campers have turned the area into an open sewer and harass homeowners and tourists with begging, pickpocketing and prostitution.
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