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Homeless man's 'bedroom' in Cheriton cemetery, Folkestone

By Sean Axtell

A double bunk-bed complete with duvet set, a food pantry and broom, and even a fireplace complete with a hearth sits atop graves in one Kent cemetery.

The makeshift bedroom recently appeared in Cheriton Road Cemetery, Folkestone, causing alarm over the camper’s welfare and disgust over the mistreatment of graves.

Damon Robinson, district councillor for the Cheriton Ward, was among a group of volunteers who discovered the surreal scenes.

Courtesy Damon Robinson

Courtesy Damon Robinson

He said: “It’s just absolutely staggering, how on earth has this person managed to get a double bed all the way over there?

“I volunteer on Saturdays to help keep the place tidy, we peeled the branches of trees back which were being used as a roof and there it was.

“I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.

“I’d imagine it’s quite upsetting for people because we don’t know the welfare of the person there.

“Others are upset because if you look closely, you can see the person is camping directly on a grave.”

A spokesman for Shepway District Council (SDC) said its officers are working to help house the individual.

Courtesy Damon Robinson

Courtesy Damon Robinson

It comes after homelessness charities warned there is not enough affordable housing in Shepway, risking some of the most vulnerable people in the district being left without a place to live.

Homelessness charity Porchlight has a team who go out early in the mornings and late at night to find people who are living on the streets.

They help them find suitable housing and support for any problems they are facing.

Sonya Langridge works for the team.

She said: “The stress and chaos of homelessness means that people don’t always open up to you straight away and it can take weeks to earn their trust.

Damon Robinson

Damon Robinson

“Some people have lost all hope and the idea of change becomes scary. It’s my job to keep going back and trying to encourage them to accept help.”

A spokesman for Shepway District Council, said: “We understand this gentlemen set up a temporary home in Cheriton Cemetery about three weeks ago.

“We are aware of his needs and our Housing Options Team is working to find him alternative accommodation.”

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