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‘Pool squatters’ in private pools on increase

Private homes are increasingly falling victim to ‘pool squatting’, in which strangers come to use an outdoor pool when the owners or residents are not at home.

Pool squatting is a well-known issue in France, especially during periods of very hot weather.

Police have confirmed that this year has been particularly bad for the problem, and that nearly every day they receive calls from neighbours to help order unruly teenagers out of private pools whose owners are away on holiday.

The town of Clermont-Ferrard has especially fallen victim to the issue recently, including a number of amateur rugby players from Béziers, who were given a police warning after being filmed playing around and jumping - naked - into a pool owned by Clermont rugby scrum half Morgan Parra.

The players were reportedly celebrating ASM Clermont’s win against Toulon in the rugby Top 14 final, while Parra was away in Paris. Parra initially made an official complaint, but the men were let off with a warning after Parra received an apology from them.

Hotels, private residences and even pool shops are all vulnerable to their pools being overtaken by strangers.

Pool makers Desjoyaux, who have a shop in Aubière (near Clermont-Ferrand) with an outdoor pool on show outside, say squatters are a regular problem.

From May onwards, people arrive to use the pool every evening, and even sometimes during the day on Sundays, when the commercial centre is empty, according to a Desjoyaux representative speaking to France 3.

The main problem is that they leave rubbish and belongings behind, including - according to the representative - mobile phones, bottles of beer and Champagne, and sometimes even human waste. They sometimes even allegedly break the pool lights and surroundings, the representative said.

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