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‘We have an immigrant on the premises’: Pub landlord who took in migrant pleads for authorities to wake up and help

3 June 2024, 09:28 | Updated: 3 June 2024, 09:48

Henry Riley reports: Pub landlord is 'stuck with asylum seeker'

Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

A landlord who has a homeless asylum seeker sleeping rough in his pub's smoking area has issued a plea to the authorities to wake up and get the man the help he needs.

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Christopher McMillan, who runs the The Three Horseshoes pub in Duton Hill - a small hamlet in Essex, near Stansted Airport - told LBC that Ahmed “presented himself” at the bar on Saturday 25th May and has remained there ever since.

“He arrived at our pub and was trying to find a couple of quid to buy a coffee,” McMillan explains.

“This is a friendly place, basically in the middle of nowhere, and people started talking to him, buying him food, and getting him drinks”.

“I have taken him home to give him food, wash his clothes and give him a shower”.

Ahmed, who is 29 and originally from Gaza, reportedly sleeps in the pub gardens during the day.
Ahmed, who is 29 and originally from Gaza, reportedly sleeps in the pub gardens during the day. Picture: Supplied

Mr McMillan said that he feels “very sorry for him” and that he has been in touch with both Uttlesford District Council and the Home Office for help “many times’ - but to no avail.

“Everybody is absolutely refusing any duty of care to him because of his immigration status,” he said.

“We basically have an illegal immigrant on the premises, but no one is coming to pick him up and I have no idea what is going to happen”.

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The three horseshoes pub in Duton Hill, Essex
The three horseshoes pub in Duton Hill, Essex. Picture: Supplied

Ahmed, who is 29 and originally from Gaza, reportedly sleeps in the pub gardens during the day - either in the sheltered smoking area, or behind a bush, and “walks the streets” at night “because it is too cold, and too wet”.

Mr McMillan, who has been the pub’s landlord for two years, says “I don’t have a problem with him sleeping at the pub, he is safer here” but “somebody in authority needs to help him”.

It’s believed that Ahmed spent several years travelling through various countries before arriving in the UK as a 16-year-old. It’s also thought he paid around €2,000 to be smuggled via a train, hiding in a car, from France.

Ahmed sleeps rough in the garden or in a small covered space which is the pub's smoking area
Ahmed sleeps rough in the garden or in a small covered space which is the pub's smoking area. Picture: Supplied

Records suggest he claimed asylum back in 2012 whilst living in Birmingham, but the application was refused. Ahmed also claims to have appealed the decision.

It’s understood that he left sheltered accommodation, and ended up becoming homeless - and had spent a number of years living in London before deciding to leave and walk roughly 50 miles to the Dunmow area of Essex. Ahmed is said to have been living on the streets “for a number of years”.

Cllr Maggie Sutton, who sits on Uttlesford Borough Council, said: “I am continuing to support Christopher and I will chase this with the Home Office once again. Whatever the circumstances no one should ever turn their back on another human being in such dire circumstances”.

Ahmed sleeps in the pub's garden during the day and wanders the street at night
Ahmed sleeps in the pub's garden during the day and wanders the street at night. Picture: Supplied

Mr McMillan told LBC his message to the council is “you have a duty of care, forget red tape for just one second, you can’t hide behind charities - we have reported him as homeless repeatedly but no one has come here because we are extremely rural”.

He has has also contacted several charities and just wants a resolution for Ahmed.

He claims the Home Office have also been “unhelpful” and that the “only place where his asylum case can be made now is in Liverpool, but they are not helping him to get there. I am stuck with him, the Home Office have not come to pick him up, they know his location”.

The situation has also forced Christopher to take time off work in an attempt to resolve the situation. He explains that Ahmed has very few possessions including a basic Nokia phone and had not heard about the recent conflict in his home of Gaza.

He also claims that in one conversation with an Uttlesford Borough Council official he was told to contact the Israeli embassy for the Palestinian asylum seeker.

Christopher explained to the official that Ahmed was from Gaza and that “we don’t have Palestinian Embassy’s in the United Kingdom as we don’t recognise it as a state” but was told by an official to “contact the Israeli Embassy”.

“I think they should watch the news once in a while,” he told LBC.

Uttlesford Borough Council have been contacted for comment.

Asylum seeker Ahmed is sleeping rough at the The Three Horseshoes pub in Duton Hill, Essex
Asylum seeker Ahmed is sleeping rough at the The Three Horseshoes pub in Duton Hill, Essex. Picture: Supplied

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