A homeless commune in Hounslow complete with shelves, room dividers and even a microwave has been cleared by police.

Rough sleepers had been camping out for about 18 months at the makeshift shelter under Holy Trinity Church, in Hounslow High Street, next door to Hounslow Police Station.

Police teamed up with Hounslow Council and High Court enforcement officers last night to carry out an eviction order at the site, which is close to delivery docks for several high street shops.

A police spokesman said officers had already arranged alternative accommodation for four people living there, and the site was empty when they arrived last night.

Some of the laundry found hanging at the commune before it was cleared
 

"The commune presented health and fire risks, and locals were intimidated by the presence of the occupants, who were often intoxicated," he added.

"Some occupants accounted for much of the antisocial behaviour and low-level crime in the Hounslow area."

The camp contained at least three double beds, along with sofas, shelves, room dividers and even a microwave.

Hounslow Central neighbour inspector Andrew Morrow said the squat had been there for at least 18 months and was believed to have been used by up to a dozen people at any one time, with different occupants coming and going.

He told getwestlondon it had been frequented by street drinkers for much of the summer but in recent weeks it was mostly Polish people who had been sleeping there.

Inspector Morrow added that Polish PC Magda Rosiak had been visiting the site regularly, along with outreach workers from homelessness charities, to check up on the welfare of those using the improvised lodgings.

PC Rosiak has also been tweeting from @MPSHounslow in Polish in recent weeks in an attempt to build relations between police and members of the borough's significant eastern European community.

Laundry was still hanging on washing lines when police arrived last night, and officers arranged to have the site cleaned and four large van loads of furniture and assorted junk removed.

Police said that although they had been aware of the commune for some time it had taken many months to secure an eviction order through the High Court because the squat straddled property belonging to several private landowners.

Holy Trinity Church houses the Olive Branch refuge every Saturday, from 4pm-6pm, at which homeless people can get food, new clothes and a bit to eat.

An office chair found at the commune
Another pile of junk discarded by rough sleepers using the commune
Some of the rubbish left behind by rough sleepers using the commune