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Immigrant first man jailed for squatting
A MAN has been jailed for squatting under legislation that came into force in September.
Blackburn magistrates heard Michael Minorczyk, who it is thought is the first person in the country to be jailed under the new act, was ordered out of a house in Wellington Street and told not to return.
But he failed to heed the warning and police found him in a drunken stupor sleeping in a makeshift bed in a downstairs room.
Minorczyk, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to squatting and was jailed for 15 weeks.
The prosecution was brought under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012 which made squatting an offence.
Prosecutor Catherine Allan said the offence carried a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
Police had been asked to remove Minorczyk from the boarded-up house.
They entered through a broken door and could see the defendant was sleeping on a makeshift bed in a downstairs room. He was told to leave and not to return but came back shortly after,” said Miss Allan.
Ian Huggan, defending, said Minorczyk had come to the UK from Poland in 2005.
He got a job and everything was fine until the breakdown of his relationship.
He returned to Poland “to straighten his head” but when he came back to Blackburn found that his former partner had started a new relationship.
“He had hoped to reconcile the relationship and was unable to cope with the situation he was faced with,” said Mr Huggan.
“He started to drink and unfortunately the drink has taken over his life. He hasn’t caused any difficulties other than being in a property he shouldn’t have been in.”