A HOMELESS man’s makeshift camp was burned to the ground in a “sickening” attack.

Last week the Guardian reported complaints about an illegal park between the City of London Cemetery and Alders Brook in Wanstead Park.

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But when volunteers Eileen Elton and Nina Parish went to collect rubbish near the camp on Tuesday (December 6) they saw one of the men who usually sleeps there “visibly distressed”.

He was "black from head to toe" and he showed them someone had set fire to the camp in the middle of the night.

Mrs Elton, of Empress Avenue, Aldersbrook, said: “We were working away by the underpass near Romford Road when we saw the Polish man who lives in the camp.

“In very broken English he told us to follow him.

“The person must have used something to help them do it, because it’s really damp down there.”

The camp after the arson attack on Monday night

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The 66-year-old man explained he has been living in Wanstead Park for eight months because his landlord evicted him.

After being moved on from several spots by the police he decided to make a home for himself sleeping rough in the park.

Despite being blind in one eye, the man claims he does “odd jobs” for people and offers to remove their rubbish before bringing it to the camp.

The attacker managed to burn down three trees and torched all the mattresses, furniture, and clothes in his makeshift home.

The camp before it was burned to the ground in the attack

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East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

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He also said another man living in the park has fled because of the attack.

Mrs Elton added: “He kept saying ‘narcotic’ over and over again and showed us how the person knelt down over him laughing as they set the place on fire.

“He was very upset.

“We wanted the camp cleared, but we are completely sickened that someone would do this.”

After the two women made a desperate plea to City of London Corporation (CoCL), Redbridge, and Newham Council to find out who was responsible for the camp, they could not make up their mind.

CoCL claimed the land does not belong to them, but the two councils said: “This land lies right on the boundary between our two boroughs, and our officers from Newham and Redbridge are working together to establish the best way to have this camp removed.

“As soon as we can establish ownership of the land, we can work together to tackle a situation which is clearly causing residents distress.”

But Mrs Elton is not impressed by the lack of urgency to clear the camp and find the man a home.

She said: “It’s ridiculous it’s taken them this long to do something about it.

“We can’t seem to speak to anyone without them pointing the finger at someone else – and now this has happened.”

Redbridge and Newham Councils have been contacted comment.