Barking and Dagenham council properties repossessed following housing raids

Three empty council properties are being repossessed and more might follow after housing officers found people illegally subletting and two illegal immigrants.

The early-morning raids were carried out on two consecutive Saturdays and officers visited 11 addresses in total.

At one property, a person was subletting but charging the tenants an extra £600 over what the council charged.

Of the two illegal immigrants arrested by police, one had overstayed their visa by about 10 years.

The properties will be taken back by the council and made available to families on the housing waiting list.

Cllr Mick McCarthy, cabinet member for housing, said: “Council housing is a social service, not a private business and the homes are for people who need them to live in. Those who lie and deprive others by abusing the privilege will be hit the hardest.

“This initiative has shown that the presence of housing officers and the police on our estates working together to tackle tenancy fraud is a welcome development.”