They should try this trick in Texas.
Last updated at 6:39 PM on 16th August 2011
When immigration officer Julia High came back from a night out at the Royal Albert Hall she might have expected to enjoy a nightcap before retiring for the evening.
Instead she discovered a family of Romanian gipsies squatting in her terrace house – sitting round the dining table and wearing her clothes.
When horrified 55-year-old quizzed them about their presence, she was invited in and offered a glass of her own wine as the family of eight tried to convince her their bogus tenancy document was legal.
Chaos: Julia High was left shocked when she found the gypsies living in her home in Leytonstone, east London
New home: The Romanian family were found at another house not far from where Ms High’s home was trashed
Ms High had left her home in Leytonstone, east London, on a Friday morning for work but then spent the weekend visiting her elderly parents in Guildford.
Neighbours raised the alarm on the Monday evening as she attended the Proms, and she returned to her home of 30 years to find the Romanians sitting around the dining table. Her possessions had been stuffed into bin bags and thrown into the back garden.
Ms High, who works at the UK Border Agency, said the family — five adults and three children — had told her neighbours that she was dead and they had rented the house from her ‘son’.
She said: ‘The women came to the door dressed in my clothes, they were sitting around my dining room table, drinking my wine out of my glasses. They even offered me a drink and told me they were from Romania.
‘They said I was dead and my son had rented the house to them. I am very much alive, single and I don’t have a son.’
Lies: Ms High’s neighbours said the family told them she had died and they were renting the property from her son
The following day Ms High secured a county court eviction order, which the police served that evening. However, her home was left in a terrible state, with water damage to the kitchen and bathroom caused by the removal of lead roofing. Carpets had been taken and her fridge and freezer emptied.
She said the squatters took some of her clothes packed in her suitcases, along with a computer, containing precious pictures of her two-month-old grand-niece, and digital cameras.
Only her two beds and her wardrobes were left intact and her insurance claim is being frustrated by the loss of receipts and documents.
It has taken Ms High, who is staying with friends, two weeks to go through less than half of the bags piled in her garden. She expects it will be many more weeks before she can move back in. The front door had been levered open but she had no way of proving the Romanians were to blame.
She said: ‘These people have just trashed 30 years of my life and thrown it into bin bags. It is soul destroying.’
The squatters were tracked down to a house in a nearby road.
Neighbours said they moved in two weeks ago and the property is said to be owned by a doctor who bought it in March.
No one answered when reporters knocked at the door, but children could be seen peeking out of the first-floor window.