Footage from within difficult to access hotels housing asylum seekers shows infestation problems that an insider said go unreported for fear the residents will be deported
Asylum seekers stuck in hotels waiting to be processed have shared the “repulsive” state of accommodation they live in.
Footage from one of the hotels which currently houses dozens of asylum seekers shows insects crawling in the base of the shower.
Another video, taken at a different hotel its residents have asked the Mirror not to identify for fear of reprisals from the owners, captures maggots slithering across the floor.
A third piece of footage shows mice running around a bedroom, while water can be seen gushing through the ceiling of a home where a family of asylum seekers were living.
The ceiling of that home later collapsed.
Photos from one hotel show two children, who spent a period of time in the Calais Jungle, covered in what appear to be bed bug bites.
The images, which were all taken in West London, were shared with the Mirror to highlight the conditions many people who seek asylum in this country are living under as they wait, sometimes years, for their refugee status to be approved or rejected.
Living on a small allowance of several pounds a day, and with no right to work until their applications are approved, often they’re unable to buy basic sanitary products to clean their rooms.
The fear of being thrown out of the country by the Home Office means most people do not raise issues regarding their accommodation, an insider told the Mirror.
This can lead to property health hazards and infestations going unreported and untreated.
Access to hotels where they’re staying is highly restricted, meaning conditions inside remain largely a mystery.
Volunteers have to meet residents in the car parks outside to deliver clothes donated by kind Brits.
Less charitable people drive to the hotels to dump bags of rubbish in a kind of dirty protest against the asylum seekers’ efforts to make lives for themselves in the country.
An immigration insider said: “The people living in dispersed accommodation, they are put anywhere in the country and moved with a moment’s notice. They can’t object.
“Very often they don’t get told until they’re in the transport where they’re going.
“It is called dispersal accommodation. If they’re in a hotel they’re on £8 a week.
“They’re frightened to speak out when there are issues, and frightened of not seeming grateful, so the issues will come to light after several months when they finally burst into tears when talking to a volunteer.
“In the case of the shower with the jumping termites, the lad never used it. He was too repulsed by it to wash.
“Many, many of the rooms have proper bed bug infestations. It’s a really big problem.
“If they didn’t feel in danger where they come from they wouldn’t live like this. They are not being looked after that helps them be a benefit to society.
“There is a lot of wasted talent among these families.”
The videos were shared with the Mirror at the end of a tragic week in which 27 people died trying to get to the UK.
They lost their lives when their dinghy capsized while trying to cross the English Channel from France.
Five women and a girl are reportedly among the victims confirmed dead so far in what has been described as the deadliest incident of its kind ever.
People currently in Calais but hoping to get to the UK told The Mirror how they stilled planning on making the perilous journey, despite the freezing, rough waters in front of them.
They said people smugglers’ prices of at least £2,000 per head for a 45-metre boat with around 40 to 50 people squeezed in, meant the gang involved in the tragedy had taken at least £60,000 in cash from those who died in the sea.
Other estimates put the figure as high as £6,000 per person.
Jon, a 27-year-old former electrical engineering student from Eritrea, told how he and 13 other asylum seekers cheated death in the ocean on the same day 27 others perished.
He set out on a small boat and paid £200 for his share, only for the craft to sink into the icy water.
Once, and if, they make the crossing, many people are taking in by the authorities and processed.
This is the beginning of a very lengthy process which often sees people thrown out of the country.
While they wait for their application to be heard, many are moved across the country to live away from those they travelled with, often alongside people without a language in common.
Although the most recent year’s statistics have not yet been compiled, data from 2019 shows that the UK receives far fewer first time asylum applications than other European countries its size.
In 2019 44,494 applications were made, compared to three times that in Germany, and more than double that in France and Spain.
The Home Office was contacted for comment.