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Man claims ownership after prison HQ siege

A Pembroke man is due in court tomorrow over an alleged siege with police at the former prison service headquarters in Pembroke.

But for James Dallas, 68, another court battle lies ahead — a bid to claim ownership rights to the property on Happy Valley Road that he insisted was built by his family and leased.

Mr Dallas is to face charges in Magistrates' Court of threatening police during a standoff that lasted several hours.

Mr Dallas was removed from the building, but he claims the derelict former prison service headquarters was built by his grandparents and that he has kept a quiet occupancy in its basement for decades.

Mr Dallas said: “People didn't even know I was staying there, but I've been there all my life.”

He added he hoped to assert a family claim to the building, as well as squatters' rights.

Mr Dallas said: “They locked it up years ago and they never knew I was there.

“I've been looking after the place. I grew the trees, fixed up the roof. It's like they wanted the place to fall down.”

Public Works staff found Mr Dallas on the premises earlier this month, but he refused to leave and barricaded himself inside after police attempted to move him out.

Cleveland Simmons, a community activist, said he would argue Mr Dallas's case.

Mr Simmons added: “He was there the whole time the prison officers used it. On top of that, he has been reconstructing it and maintaining the property.

“They are saying he has been trespassing on the Government's property, but this is his home.”

Mr Simmons said he hoped that the building could be turned into a community centre.

He added: “There is a lot of property over the years that has been claimed, and we think this is one of those.”

It is The Royal Gazette's policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

Claiming dispossession: James Dallas, 68, faces a day in court after a standoff outside a derelict building on Happy Valley Road (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published November 30, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm)

Man claims ownership after prison HQ siege

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