Today, the Daily Express is running with HOW MIGRANTS SNATCHED OUR HOMES.
However, the story is actually about two Lithuanian families that appear to have been tricked into thinking they’ve legally rented properties that are already occupied.
The Mail broke part of this story yesterday as Pensioner takes dogs for walk… and returns to find locks changed and a family living in his home, but the Express article leads with another, similar occurrence not mentioned by the Mail.
Both scenarios occurred in the same area of Barking so one might be forgiven for finding the Express’ headline a tad hysterical and overblown.
Remember, while you’re reading this first paragraph from the Express article, that the Lithuanian family have been tricked into thinking they’ve rented the place:
A GANG of Lithuanian squatters is behind a terrifying scam in which people’s homes are seized and locks changed while they are out, it has emerged.
This paragraph is flat out misleading. By saying that the Lithuanian family “is behind” the scam, the Express are trying to imply that it’s the family themselves that are orchestrating the whole business.
The sheer horror of coming back to find your house occupied by someone else cannot be denied, but it must not be forgotten that the “squatters” here are victims too.
Why did the Express run with “HOW MIGRANTS SNATCHED OUR HOMES” and not “DODGY ESTATE AGENTS RENT OUT OCCUPIED HOMES” or something similar? And why did they initially try to imply that the Lithuanians were behind the whole scam?
The PCC has already decided that newspapers can more or less say what they want in their headlines, but the Express should at least be held to account for that first, misleading paragraph.