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Workers return to tragic site

PUBLISHED: 10:16 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 22:03 07 July 2010

A GROUP of rough sleepers have set up camp in Thetford a matter of months after one of their group died of hypothermia.

A GROUP of rough sleepers have set up camp in Thetford a matter of months after one of their group died of hypothermia.

Several tents have emerged in the past couple of weeks on Barnham Cross Common on the edge of the town and it is believed a group of migrant workers have settled.

The group appear to be linked to those who were there when the body of Polish man Mariusz Fidos, 33, was found on the common in Thetford five days before Christmas.

He had been sleeping rough in the area with other men including his twin brother Piotr.

Thetford Town Council confirmed it will be asking the latest group to move on but would be looking at future policy.

Town clerk Ed Chambers said: “I know there are links between the group at the moment and the person who died back in December.”

He went on: “I personally am feeling a bit more like I can say we need to get these people off.

“The court order which removed the travellers has a 12-week validity so within that time we will be asking them to move on.

“This is a new phenomenon and it's something we will have to look at and talk about whether official camps should be set up.

“It seems to be an issue of them preferring to camp than anything else.

“When the first reports came back about the person who had died it seemed to be a homeless issue. With the passage of time it's become apparent they're not homeless by virtue of refusing accommodation. We need to be responsible as a community but in what amount I'm not sure.”

The men were placed in free emergency accommodation at the end of last year as temperatures plummeted. They were then offered advice by Breckland Council but have been on and off the common ever since.

A spokesman for Breckland Council said: “We are aware that Thetford Town Council is considering enforcing a recent court order to move the group of rough sleepers from Barnham Cross Common.

“We intend to work with the town council to ensure the welfare of the individuals concerned.

“Initially we will establish what assistance they need and are prepared to accept and which individuals are entitled to assistance. “We will ensure that they are fully aware of the options open to them through our housing advice surgeries and have taken steps to ensure we have adequate staffing to respond.

“The group have already been offered the opportunity to return to their country of origin which they have declined.”

The news comes just days after a group of travellers were removed from a site on the common after a court order was obtained by Breckland District Council, which manages the common.


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