An MP is calling on Parliament to help stop squatters taking over empty shops and clubs.

Mike Weatherley, has tabled an early day motion in Parliament to extend laws criminalising squatting in homes and flats to also apply to commercial properties.

The Hove MP said that the owners of a commercial property deserve the same level of protection as owners of a residential property.

New squatting laws brought in last September to criminalise squatting only apply to residential properties, meaning the police are powerless to stop groups taking over empty commercial properties.

Since the ban came into force in September, squatters have taken over several empty shops in the city including charity and lighting shops in London Road and the former Post Office buildings in Ship Street.

Mr Weatherley has been a leading voice against squatters and a speech he made on at the University of Sussex in November ended in a riot led by pro-squatting protestors.

The MP said: “After the success of the criminalisation of squatting in residential properties, I felt that it was important that commercial property owners were protected by the law in the same way as residential owners.

“My colleagues in parliament have been very supportive of the rights of property owners over those who choose squatting, and its destructive consequences, as a way of life.”

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