AN empty house being used as a squat in Highgate is causing grief for neighbours, who’ve suffered six burglaries in three weeks.
Police attended 124 Wright Street three times in three days this week, and it’s no secret that some inhabitants are behind the thieving: on one occasion neighbours wandered through the squat’s open door and simply retrieved their goods while the squatters were out.
The neighbours also fear for the welfare of one of the group, who’s been inhaling gas from nicked barbecue canisters: it’s not unusual for the smell to hang heavy enough in the air for passers-by to get a strong whiff.
Twice, the man has been found unconscious from huffing the gas, on one occasion coming to and then legging it with an ambulance already enroute.
A local says the police response to calls has been impeccable and Vincent city council has also been very responsive, but the locals want the place secured and tidied up so squatters can’t get in.
Property owner Tiger Developments currently has an application in front of the council to knock the place down and erect four three-storey grouped dwellings.
The council refused that back in June and Tiger appealed to the WA state administrative tribunal. In September it was once again rejected, because there wasn’t enough setback from the street.
Under new WA government laws just brought in, owners can demolish a property before getting approval for its replacement, and we hear Tiger’s now getting quotes for the knock-down. Until then, the back laneway gate has been secured in the hope of minimising dodgy activities (it has been a popular route for trying to evade attention).
by DAVID BELL