A squatter has become the first in Sussex to be found guilty of breaking a new law.

Dirk Duputell, 30, was one of three men found glued together in the loft of a squatted home in London Road, Brighton, two days after the new squatting law was brought in.

Police were called to the address, above a former lighting shop, which was believed to have been lived in by about 15 people on September 3 last year.

The case against Duputell’s codefendants, Alistair Cannell, 23, of no fixed address, and Tobias Sedgwick, 23, of Gladstone Place, Brighton, was thrown out last month.

But on Friday Duputell, of Gladstone Place, Brighton, was found guilty of living in a residential building as a trespasser when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.

He was ordered to do 40 hours of community service and to pay £250.

His solicitor, Maryam Mir, told the court Duputell moved to the UK from Germany four years ago, living in London and Brighton.

She said after years spent being homeless he has finally rented a home and is studying to try to become a paramedic.

After he was convicted Duputell said he would be appealing against the verdict.

Giving evidence at a previous hearing Sergeant Robert Lewis said that Duputell had admitted living in the building moments before it was raided by police.

But PC Henry Cox told the court that officers had not confirmed if Duputell was living in the floor commercial unit or upstairs.

Under cross examination Inspector Bill Whitehead admitted that the defendants might not have been living in the property.

Speaking after the conviction, Neil Pye, a friend of the defendants, said: “My feeling on it is that they really wanted to convict him, despite the fact that there isn’t really evidence against him.

“I think this will go to appeal and this will be revoked. To me it all seems completely illogical.

“It shows clearly the new law is unworkable because we’re sure the conviction will be overturned.”

Hove MP Mike Weatherley said: “I’m delighted he was found guilty.

“The whole point is that they couldn’t keep doing these things without being held accountable.”