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Homeless couple living rough behind football ground

PUBLISHED: 06:51 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:32 19 September 2019

Shaun Riley, who is living rough in a tent behind King's Lynn Town FC's ground with his partner  Picture: Chris Bishop

Shaun Riley, who is living rough in a tent behind King's Lynn Town FC's ground with his partner Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A homeless couple say they are living in a tent behind a football ground because no-one will help them.

The couple have pitched their tent in a corner of a car park at The Walks Picture: Chris BishopThe couple have pitched their tent in a corner of a car park at The Walks Picture: Chris Bishop

Shaun Riley and his partner Amy Horrex, both 41, lost their home in Peterborough over rent arrears.

They came to King's Lynn, where Mr Riley grew up, two weeks ago, hoping the council would find them somewhere to stay.

But they have ended up living in a tiny tent in a corner of a car park at King's Lynn Town FC's ground The Walks.

MORE - The cold reality of living in a tent

"The council don't want to do anything for us, they say I've got no family in Lynn," said Mr Riley. "It's horrible, it really is.

"I've got a sister, I've got my dad, I've got a daughter, I've got a son, I've got another brother who lives in Terrington."
Unemployed ground worker Mr Riley, who says he was born at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said he and his partner both had health problems which were being exacerbated by living rough.

MORE - Homeless man found accommodation after attack

"My partner's got COPD, she's got emphysema," he said. "It's killing her being here.

"I was in hospital two weeks ago, something to do with my blood pressure going through the roof, I suffer from sciatica."

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Mr Riley said the couple pitched up behind the Hospital End at the football ground after being turfed off The Walks park by council workers.

He said a player had given them money for food after Saturday's game at the ground, but club officials had also requested they move.

"People say you can't stay here, you can't stay there," he said. "But no-one wants to help you."

A night shelter opens in Lynn at the end of October, but Mr Riley said: "That's winter, we'll be dead by the time that opens."

Mr Riley said the couple had built a small fire to cook food on but were told to put it out in case it spread to nearby undergrowth.

"You see all these empty buildings around," he said. "Why don't they refurnish them and let them out."

West Norfolk council's website says: "If you're faced with sleeping rough in West Norfolk, there are services that can support you. If you have a local connection to West Norfolk you may be able to access some of the hostels and shared accommodation in the borough."

A spokesman said the council could not comment on individual cases.

They added: "We offer support and assistance to anyone in the borough who is faced with homelessness or is homeless. We have recently commissioned three new outreach services - young persons, rough sleepers and community support - as it is recognised that many people who are homeless don't have access to online support or the complexity of their needs require a one-to-one tailored approach.

"We have also commissioned Shelter to provide independent advice on housing and work closely with the Purfleet Trust, Benajmin Foundation and others to ensure help is available."

A spokesman for King's Lynn Town FC said: "We feel sorry for them but it's not an ideal situation."

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