Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Squatters move in to Park Lane

Mansions on Park Lane - squats
The squatters say the mansions have been empty for two years

Squatters have taken over two 15m mansions on London's Park Lane.

The squats at 94 and 95 Park Lane overlook Hyde Park and have the Dorchester Hotel as a neighbour.

The group of about 30 artists, students and musicians took over the seven-story buildings about three weeks ago saying they had stood empty for two years.

Squatting is not illegal in England if the entry is not forced and no criminal damage is caused. It is believed the Duke of Westminster owns the buildings.

Portuguese student and squatter Daniel Moreira, 20, said: "It feels pretty good. It's the dream of everyone in London to live for a little bit in Park Lane."

Mr Moreira, a performing arts student at Westminster College, said there was a positive side to squatters taking over buildings.

"We are invading a house. But if people come and see what we've got to give them - lots of art, lots of good energies - I think they will change their minds," he said.

He said evenings are spent "jamming" - singing and playing guitar.

The squatters are hosting a night exhibition at number 95, displaying the paintings, drawings and sculptures they have produced.

He said the two squats, that house between 30 and 40 people between them, were not a centre for criminal activity.

"There are no junkies or crack-heads in there. Just nice people," he said.

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