A COUPLE whose home was invaded by squatters have won an order to evict the intruders after facing a decisive court hearing on Friday (February 3).

A court granted a repossession notice to Janice Mason, 49, and husband Dave, 48, on Friday (February 3).

But due to a high demand for bailiffs due to a rise in so-called home invasions, the couple have been told they may have to wait up to five weeks before they can re-enter the house.

The Masons were on the verge of exchanging contracts to sell the house in Manor Road, Walthamstow, when a neighbour alerted them to the squatters.

They discovered a family living there and were told they had a valid tenancy agreement.

Police then said they could not act as squatting was a civil matter and it was up to the owners to resolve the problem through the courts.

Mrs Mason said: ā€œI was so relieved when I found out the notice had been granted. We had been told by our solicitors that it was a 99 per cent chance that we would get it, but there was always that one per cent that this so-called tenancy agreement would be real.

It was just an overall feeling of relief." Mrs Mason is promoting an online petition calling for a change in the law to criminalise squatting. The petition currently has 4000 signatures.

Mrs Mason added: ā€œI am relieved that they have to leave the house, but I still had to pay their bills while they were in there, and I want to make sure the house is in a good state before the new owners move in, so it has cost us a lot of money. The main thing I want to do is change the law and make it a crime.ā€

To sign the petition visit www.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/626.