AN EVICTION notice served to a homeless man after he pitched a tent up at an empty shop doorway WAS served by the Borough of Poole despite initial off-the-record claims the notice could have been fraudulent.
The Borough of Poole had first claimed that the notice had not come from the council until they were sent a photograph of the document, provided by the Daily Echo.
Even until Friday afternoon council staff were unwilling to confirm or deny they had issued the enforcement notice, arguing that an urgent investigation had been launched into the matter.
It was suggested that an unknown person working for the authority had helped to create the eviction notice, possibly by releasing the Borough of Poole’s logo.
A day later, it was confirmed that the tent had been served a notice by an officer working for the Borough of Poole after the Daily Echo pushed the council to confirm its actions.
“A notice would be an extreme measure,” a spokesman confirmed, adding that it was not in line with the council’s normal procedure.
“Borough of Poole works in conjunction with Bournemouth and Poole Rough Sleepers Team to offer services all rough sleepers in the Poole area,” the spokesman said.
“These services include physical and mental health advice, accommodation, and support.
“There are a small number of rough sleepers who persistently refuse the services offered and continue to put themselves and others at risk.
“The notice on the tent was served by a Borough of Poole officer following a request from Bournemouth and Poole Rough Sleepers Team, who had received a number of complaints from members of the public.
“These notices are rarely used and we will be reviewing our procedures to see if any lessons can be learned from this incident.”
The council had also claimed that it was a “complicated” issue as the tent had been pitched on private property, despite the eviction notice claiming the reason for the enforcement was because “camping is not permitted on Borough of Poole land”.
The Bournemouth and Poole Rough Sleepers team refused to comment on the matter.
Resident Karl Blanch contacted the Daily Echo to voice his outrage at the eviction notice after reading Friday’s story.
“Maybe this man doesn’t want to go into accommodation. Maybe he has a dog,” he said.
“Hopefully he will go into accommodation and everything will have a happy ending. But a lot of people don’t have a choice about what happens to them.
“This has really stuck in my mind.”
The tent had been removed from the shop entrance when the Daily Echo returned to Poole High Street on Saturday.
Sally Harvey, of the AOK Rucksack Appeal, said council staff were probably “doing the best they can” under the circumstances.
“They haven’t got the money with all the government cutbacks but they are trying very, very hard,” she said.
“Homeless people should not be evicted but they do need places to go. The ones who sleep in tents tend to have dogs and can’t be housed. It’s a very difficult situation.”