Man was living rough in treehouse he built in woods


A Romanian man who was living rough in Rushmere Park has had the treehouse he built dismantled and has been moved on.

Dog walkers walking through the woods at quiet times had expressed concern about the man’s presence – although he was never deemed to be a threat to the public by the Greensand Trust who manage the park.

One reader who contacted the LBO said: “Apparently he has built several camps including a treehouse. Female dog walkers have been concerned for their safety – although he has not made any threats.

“There were also fears about his toilet habits – you can smell him before you see him. There was some sympathy for his predicament, but I don’t think anyone will be leaving food parcels at the bottom of his tree.”

Jon Balaam, director of development at The Greensand Trust, said the man had refused offers of help.

He said: “He very much kept himself to himself – he was never deemed to be a threat of any sort, we felt quite sorry for him. He was in a secluded area that wasn’t publicly accessible.”

Mr Balaam said he had worked with Central Beds Council, the Connections Floating Service (Aylesbury Vale Housing Service), the Luton Interpretation and Translation Service and the Leighton-Linslade Housing Service to try and help the man – not just removing him from the site but trying to find accommodation.

He said: “We had to take action because of the health and safety risk posed by the unauthorised structure, but also for his benefit.

“The treehouse was taken down, while we simultaneously spent the day with the above parties trying to persuade him to go to the hostel in Leighton-Linslade.

“He flatly refused. He was seen in the area shortly afterwards, but has not been seen for a few weeks now.

Mr Balaam added: “Although we achieved the removal of the treehouse and the safety of the park and its users has been maintained, it was a cost to the park we could have done without, and ultimately I and the others involved were very disappointed we couldn’t persuade him into the accommodation offered.

“I have to say the LL Housing Service and Luton Interpretation and Training Service were fantastic and really went the extra mile in trying to achieve a solution for him, but at the end of the day we could not force him to take up the kind offers.”

Since the incident Mr Balaam confirmed ranger patrols had been stepped up and the Trust had asked the public to be vigilant.

He added: “Nothing untoward has been reported. Five weeks or so have passed so hopefully he has found proper accommodation somewhere.”