HC Deb 06 October 1942 vol 383 cc1056-7
17. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of Staste for War whether he is aware that persistent and deliberate damage, which has been the subject of investigation by the civil police and anti-looting squad, is being inflicted by civilian trespassers at a house and village in Sussex which is now a military training area; what steps does he propose to take to prevent this; and will he put wardens or caretakers in responsible charge of this and other valuable private properties which have been requisitioned?

Sir J. Grigg

I am grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend for calling my attention to this case. I have had inquiries made into the circumstances. Owing to a misunderstanding the military guards posted on the property were withdrawn for the first three weeks of September. The original guard was re-posted as soon as this was brought to the notice of the local military authorities and action has been taken to ensure that such a mistake does not occur again.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the damage amounted to many hundreds of pounds, that it is causing great distress, and is not only confined to this particular property; and will he consider the possibility of permanent watching?

Sir J. Grigg

I am not sure about the possibility of permanent civilian watching, which I do not think is practicable if the inhabitants have been cleared out because it is dangerous for them to be there, but I will certainly see that permanent military guards are maintained.

21. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that certain premises, of which he has been informed, under requistion by his Department were damaged by incendiary bombs because the premises were empty without firewatchers and the gas left on; that, owing to the damage done by the fire, his Department have now relinquished their requisition; and whether, as the condition of these premises renders them useless to the owners and the damage was caused by the failure of his Department adequately to protect them, he will now recompense the owners?

Sir J. Grigg

I am investigating this matter and will communicate with my hon. Friend.