Homeless man’s tent torched in woods near Broadbridge Heath

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A homeless man has been left ‘devastated’ after the tent he sleeps inside was torched by arsonists.

Neil Bottomley has been sleeping in a night shelter during the cold winter, but returned to check on the tent ahead of the shelter’s seasonal closure next month.

But when he reached the tent, which he had left deep in woodland near Broadbridge Heath, the 43-year-old found the tent and his equipment inside had been destroyed.

He said: “I don’t know what to do. I am devastated, that was my home.

“If I can’t live in woods in the middle of nowhere, where can I go?”

The father said he discovered the charred remains of his shelter yesterday (Thursday February 18), when he visited the tent in the woods where he has lived for two years.

He explained that he spent £400 on the tent and equipment, which he is still paying off now.

He said: “There was nothing left, £400 of my equipment which was a loan I am still paying for. Now I have got to get myself in more debt to get more equipment.

“I don’t cause any problems, I am trying to rebuild my life. But things are really getting hard and it has just got worse.”

He added: “If this happened to someone in a house the people would be arrested for arson and sent to prison, but because I am homeless nobody wants to know. It beggars belief.”

Prior to the closure of the Ark charity’s Horsham town centre headquarters last year, Neil regularly visited the premises.

He would go there for the security, for a meal and to socialise - but said he no longer has that option.

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