A BRITISH couple has said they feel ‘violated’ amid claims their dream home was burned down by evil squatters on the Costa del Sol.
The pensioners, who wish to remain anonymous, were horrified to learn their property in Cartama was set ablaze just three months after a Spanish couple illegally moved in.
The distraught couple, from Bournemouth, say their Spanish home was left ‘completely destroyed’ and believe the devastating blaze broke out following an argument between the two squatters.
Speaking to The Olive Press, they said: “Our neighbours overheard them rowing. She is a well known career squatter in the area and she was telling him she was finished with him.
“He told her she was not having the house and we think that’s when he set fire to it.
“They both disappeared before the police arrived and they obviously left in a hurry as their clothes were still on the washing line.
“They really messed up. They were staying there for free and we couldn’t get them out. They had a free ride but now the place is completely destroyed. We’re glad they’re gone but the destruction is devastating.”
The couple, aged 68 and 70, added that they will ‘never get over what has been lost’.
“The house holds so many memories for us and for someone to break it and destroy it is devastating,” they said. “We feel violated and raped.”
The former tennis coach and his wife have spent nearly two decades turning the property into their dream home after purchasing it in 2004 but haven’t been able to visit since the start of the pandemic.
The pair first heard their residence had been targeted by squatters three months ago by concerned neighbours. Despite help from their gardener, the couple were told it would take more than a year to evict the illegal inhabitants.
“They were trashing the place, then a week ago we had a phone call from our community president informing me that these unsavoury characters had burned our house down and subsequently left our home. We have lost everything.
“It wasn’t just a place to go on holiday,” they said. “It was our home, we created all our memories there with our friends and our daughter and we wanted to be their full time eventually.
“When we first moved in the garden in particular it was a mess but we spent so much time on it that our friends joked it was like a hotel.”
Although the pair have insurance and are awaiting an official report from assessors before they can start to rebuild the house which was left gutted by the blaze, the couple said that some of the items lost can never be replaced.
“All our personal possessions were inside, including antique furniture worth €3,000,” they said. “Now it’s all gone. We feel numb and devastated.”
They now want to see stricter laws against squatters put in place so no one else has to suffer the same loss.
“It’s enough to put you off Spain,” they said. “The squatter rights here are just outrageous.
“In the UK you can get squatters out in a matter of weeks but in Spain. you can’t get them out. It is awful. We were even paying their electricity bills.