Immigration officer comes home to find family of Romanian gypsies squatting in her house, wearing her clothes and drinking her wine (after telling neighbours she'd died)
Last updated at 3:51 PM on 17th August 2011
An immigration officer returned home to find gipsies had moved in, ransacked the place and dressed in her clothes.
Julia High was even offered a glass of her own wine by the Romanian squatters.
They claimed they had rented the property from her ‘son’ because she had died, and produced a set of fake documents. Miss High, 55, has no son.
Chaos: Julia High was left shocked when she found the gypsies living in her home in Leytonstone, east London
Fake: The Romanians claimed there was a tenancy agreement between Miss High's son and them for the home, which she has owned for 30 years
The family of five adults and three children had ripped up carpets, emptied the fridge and dumped her belongings in bin bags in the garden of her £270,000 home.
They left water damage to the kitchen and bathroom, while a computer and digital cameras were missing. Only her beds and wardrobes were left intact. And once evicted, they squatted in another home two streets away.
Miss High, who works for the UK Border Agency, had spent a weekend visiting her parents and on the Monday evening went to see the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall before returning to the terraced home in Leytonstone, east London, which she has owned for 30 years.
Lies: Ms High's neighbours said the family told them she had died and they were renting the property from her son
New home: The Romanian family were found at another house not far from where Ms High's home was trashed
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.’
She secured a county court eviction order the next day and police removed the family. But she has been forced to stay with friends during repairs, and fears it will be weeks before she can return.
She said: ‘These people have just trashed 30 years of my life and thrown it into bin bags. It is soul-destroying.’
Dumped: This carpet was ripped out of Miss High's home and put in the back garden. It covers bags of her belongings that were also dumped in the garden
Yesterday the Daily Mail found the family in a four-bedroom house two streets away, owned by a doctor who bought it in March but delayed moving in to carry out repairs.
When approached for a comment, the family spat and swore. One woman, who said her name was Dragoi Carmen, said: ‘I’ve never seen [Miss High’s] house, I don’t know why I’m being accused of this.’
Laura Eparu, who lives next door to Miss High, said: ‘I’m Romanian myself and I realised they were Romanian gipsies. They’ve brought shame on our country.’