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Security stepped up in Ipswich after homeless seek refuge under flats

PUBLISHED: 15:25 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 21 February 2017

The Orwell Quay flats are next to the Aurora restaurant at the Ipswich Waterfront.

The Orwell Quay flats are next to the Aurora restaurant at the Ipswich Waterfront.

Archant

New security measures have had to be introduced in flats near Ipswich Waterfront after homeless people managed to get into communal areas to seek shelter.

There arrival prompted concern among residents of flats in the Orwell Quay area – and have led to property agents EWS changing the security arrangements.

Tenants and flat owners have now been issued with electronic fobs costing £20 each to get into these areas – until now access has been by use of a pass code, but unauthorised people were able to find out the code and were able to pass it on to others.

That meant people were found sleeping on stairwells and near refuse bins – and there were fears this could lead to property being damaged.

George Woodward, managing director of EWS, said: “As soon as we became aware that homeless persons were gaining entry to the internal common areas of the blocks at Orwell Quay we took steps to prevent this from happening, initially by changing the numerical key codes on the door entry panels but this did not prove to be an effective solution to the problem.

“It was therefore decided that the security of these blocks needed to be bolstered by the removal of the key code entry door system such that access can only be gained using a proximity fob.

“Unfortunately such measures come at a cost and also a degree of inconvenience to tenants/occupiers of the apartments but this was deemed to be the only effective way to overcome this particular problem.”

He said the issue at Orwell Quay showed up the serious homelessness problem in Ipswich and said there was clearly a need for society to do something.

Police have been alerted to the problem but have not been aware of any recent crimes associated with it.

Sergeant Phil Barrett said: “We are aware there have been concerns with homeless people gaining access to the building and rough sleeping in the communal areas.

“This is a complicated issue and we are working with the council and other partner agencies to resolve the problem.

“We haven’t had any reports of recent incidents, however we would encourage residents to remain vigilant in who they allowing access into the building.”

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