"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Polish Man Sleeping Rough In Thetford Freezes To Death.

The body of a man who had been sleeping rough in sub-zero temperatures has been found on the outskirts of Thetford.

The dead man, who was from Poland and was found in a tent on Barnham Cross Common has been named as 33-year-old Mariusz Fidos.

Yesterday team rector of Thetford, Canon Bob Baker and Thetford mayor, Pam Spencer, both spoke on behalf of the town of their sadness over the tragedy.

“The people of Thetford are shocked and saddened. We don’t know what the circumstances are surrounding this man’s death but clearly, if there are lessons to learned, we must learn from them and ensure that this does not happen again,” said Canon Baker.

Mrs Spencer said: “My thoughts are with the relatives and friends of the deceased at was must be a particularly difficult time.”

It is understood that Mr Fidos was sharing the tent with his twin brother and a friend, all three being Polish nationals. A fourth man, also believed to be Eastern European, was in a tent on his own by the dead man’s tent.

The three other men have since been provided with emergency accommodation in Norwich.

Mr Fidos was found dead on Sunday. A post-mortem examination carried out later that evening revealed early indications are that he died from hypothermia.

The case has now been passed to the coroner. Police said the man’s death remains “unexplained” but police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

John Walker, of Breckland Council’s housing advice and home-lessness service, described Mr Fidos’ death as an “appalling tragedy”.

He said that the authority was not aware that Mr Fidos was sleeping rough on the Common and had not had any direct contact with him.

He said Breckland Council was working hard with the police and other agencies in the Thetford area to ensure that everyone was aware when people were sleeping rough and then provide what help they could.

Council officials, had, however, been aware in October of three men sleeping rough on Barnham Common. The group were advised of their housing options and also offered assistance to travel to their home countries but they declined such help. “We can’t force people to return to their home countries if they do not want to go,” said Mr Walker.

Thetford town councillor Terry Jermy, whose ward covers the Barnham Common area, said that although housing officers were aware of people sleeping rough on the Common, he did not feel it was a priority to them.

He was angry at the situation and suggested that a caravan could have been provided on the town’s travel-lers’ site which had not yet been used.

“At least on that site they could have been free from harm,” he said.

He is calling for a serious look at the homelessness issue in Thetford.

There is a facility for the homeless in Thetford at John Room House but it is currently closed for major refurbishment.

Breckland Cabinet member with responsibility for housing, Paul Claussen said the authority took the homelessness issue very seriously and would be working with partner agencies to ensure that such a tragedy did not happen again.

Mr Claussen stressed he was not aware of all the details of the case, but Mr Walker and his team did their utmost to find accommodation for people in difficulties.

“We do encourage people to be our eyes and ears and let us know when they are aware of people facing difficulties with accommodation,” he said.



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