On Thursday 18th November 2010, The Sheriffs Office took possession of Thames Ditton’s ‘Home Of Compassion’ by evicting the squatters who had illegally moved into the buildings.
The 65 bedroom Grade II listed Georgian main building with chapel, outbuildings and grounds backing onto the river Thames has been a charity run care home since the 19th century. It was bought by the private company ‘Caring Homes’ in September 2008, but a lack of funding has meant the property has been left empty.
The building has been broken into and vandalised on several occasions and this October it was occupied by squatters, leading to concerns by the local council that the building itself was becoming endangered. Caring Homes obtained a Writ of Possession and instructed The Sheriffs Office accordingly.
The squatters were evicted early this morning in a large-scale operation led by The Sheriffs Office. A specialist team was also drafted in to provide tactical support which included climbers, and water support via a Zodiac rib. Surrey Police also played a critical role and provided over 30 officers and a variety of support vehicles for the operation.
Meticulous planning and ongoing assessment by all involved meant that the operation was a complete success. The building is now secure and I am delighted that the squatters left peacefully and that no arrests were necessary. This impressive building and grounds have now been returned to its rightful owners. The clear up operation started almost immediately and a security team now occupies the site 24/7.
Caring Homes Group were very pleased with the operation. Here's what Mr Dolling wrote:
"Just wanted to send a thank you to you and your colleagues for your professional and efficient help throughout the squatters problem at the Home of Compassion. Can I also place on record our recognition of the contribution of your BDM, who throughout the planning kept me informed of progress and issues."