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‘Squatter’ vandal leads to closed gates in Downham Market

By Eve Tawfick

The popular World Garden at the Eternity Centre in Downham has been closed for refurbishments after a homeless man caused damage to the garden.

The incident, which was reported to police, happened at the end of May and the garden has remained closed.

PC Lee Anderton, based at Lynn police station, said: “The individual in question is known to the police, he moves between Lynn and Downham.

“He was using the centre and the garden as somewhere to sleep, which was concerning for staff.

“He was removed and the centre has had to take greater security measures, as the doors to the garden did not lock properly.”

Eternity Centre in Downham Market today
Eternity Centre in Downham Market today

Downham Market Town Council also confirmed this. A spokeswoman said: “There was someone, or maybe more than one person, sleeping in there. Possibly vandalism has taken place.”

While the Eternity Centre appears to be taking preventative measures, residents have voiced annoyance at the closure.

A woman who uses the garden as a walkway on to the industrial estate, where her daughter’s nursery school is located, said: “It’s really annoying. It’s put a real strain on my morning.

“That small short-cut gave me extra time to get to work, now I’m always rushing.”

A pair of friends who used to sit in the garden with their dogs also told the Lynn News: “We used to love sitting there on the bench and having a chat. It was a nice space. We do look forward to seeing it after the refurbishment.”

Alex Coates, Eternity Centre manager and administrator, did not confirm that the ‘squatter’ had caused the problems but added: “Currently the garden is closed as we renovate the borders and make any necessary repairs to ensure our amenity continues to be a welcoming place for people and nature alike.”


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