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Homeless couple living in a van in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:22 01 February 2011

Tony Pitcher and Sharon Warnes who are homeless and living out of a van in Bowthorpe.

Tony Pitcher and Sharon Warnes who are homeless and living out of a van in Bowthorpe.

Archant © 2011

A couple are living in a van in a Norwich car park because they say they have no home to go to.

Tony Pitcher, 44, and Sharon Warnes, 41, have spent more than a month in their white Ford Transit van, which is parked in a car park off Bowthorpe Hall Road, Bowthorpe.

Before this they lived for about a month in a tent in Ms Warnes’ son’s garden in the Bowthorpe area.

The couple say all they want is a warm home, however small, to live in, but at the moment they say the only option available to them is their van.

Ms Warnes said: “We do not care if it is just one room. We just want to be out of the cold.”

Mr Pitcher added: ”The back of the van is full-up with everything we own. We sleep in the front of the van.

“We cannot eat anything hot. We cannot drink anything hot. Sanitation is an absolute nightmare. We have a bucket we have to use. We use the public toilets in the daytime.”

Ms Warnes stressed that the couple do not want to cause any trouble and always make sure they clean up any rubbish.

During the daytime they spend their time sitting in the van playing cards and sudoku and watching a family of birds that lives in a hedge close to where they are parked. The pair met online in November 2009 and became a couple in July last year after they met face-to-face for the first time in the very car park where their Transit van is now parked.

They moved around the country together doing some work in both Skegness and London, before moving to Norwich in November.

Ms Warnes, a builder who has three children and six grandchildren, has lived in Norwich for 26 years.

Mr Pitcher, who has worked all over the country as a ceramic tiler and has four children and two grandchildren, is originally from High Wycombe. Ms Warnes is currently unable to work because she has being diagnosed with depression and Mr Pitcher has a broken hand.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: “Whenever we are approached by people who say they are in housing need, we investigate every possible option that is available to them to find a suitable home.

“In some cases people simply do not qualify for council housing. But this does not mean our involvement stops there. We talk them though the best possible options open to them, which applies in this case.

“We can offer advice, assistance and information on the full range of housing options open to people and then the choice of what they should do next rests with them.”

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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