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Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 15:00 UK
'Crusoe living' on River Thames island in Chiswick

A modern-day Robinson Crusoe claims he has been living on an uninhabited island in the River Thames.

Nick, 67, as he wants to be called, has built himself a hut and a hammock in a tree on Chiswick Eyot in west London.

The homeless man said he has been living on the island for six months and enjoys the "freedom".

Hounslow Council, which owns the island, said it could not find any evidence of anyone living there when it sent a team to investigate.

Chiswick Eyot, which is located on the outside of the Surrey bend on the river, is also on the University Boat Race route.

'Uncomplicated' life

Mr Nick claims he went to Westminster School and qualified as an architect and had lived in Wimbledon, south-east London, with his ex-wife, but is now homeless.

The pensioner leaves the island during low tide to get supplies.

The island is flooded twice a day, but at low tide people can walk to the Chiswick Mall.

Describing his hammock, Mr Nick said: "First I rigged up these lines and then I got the netting stuff, its better than any bed I've been in.

"I've achieved freedom.

"Things are now simple and uncomplicated. You don't have to go out and lock any doors.

"If most people had to choose between being here on an island and being in a bank or government office, they would say 'oh give me the island'".

A spokesman for the Hounslow Council said: "Earlier this week the council sent representatives to the Chiswick Eyot island but were unable to find any evidence of any one living on the island."

Property lawyer Paul Ridge, from Bindmans, told BBC London that the pensioner does not have any squatter's rights.

"Gone are the days of squatter's rights. The Land Registration Act took care of that in 2003 and I'm afraid he is not going to acquire those rights he once had.

"I suspect the London borough of Hounslow might call time on his adventures on the island, which I suspect might come to an end fairly quickly."


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