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Fairyland

Property: Best Return On Investment Even In Crisis

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Longford is a Middlesex village with a Tudor pub, a couple of thatched cottages, and plenty of rose-covered front gardens.

It even has its own lord of the manor, or at least an unofficial one: Surinder Arora, who is rarely spotted in the village, but owns Longford's biggest property as well as a clutch of other homes here.

However, Mr Arora is making his money in the most modern way possible - asylum seekers.

Longford, in the shadow of Heathrow Airport, has become a temporary home for immigrants, who come for a few days at a time, before being moved on. And Mr Arora, 57, who is providing the accommodation, is adding to his estimated wealth of £350 million along the way.

"He has bought all these houses, which is causing nothing but trouble for everybody," says John Batt, a retired panel beater, who bought his thatched cottage in Longford in 1969. "The village was beautiful back then, lovely. We had a village shop, a post office, we even had a working blacksmiths across the road."

But now, he says, the village is ruined.

"It's just falling to pieces. The refugees are just walking around. This lot lay about all day long. All they do is sit about on the walls all day long, and they get fed, they get housed. They are bussed in on buses and coaches."

He is one of a number of residents in this village who is fed up with how Longford has become a centre for housing asylum seekers.

/On Wednesday, there were about 20 men, some from Ethiopia, some from Sudan, who were sitting on garden walls and milling about the village. Most have been bussed here by Clearsprings, a contractor employed by the Home Office, after arriving in this country on lorries coming through the Channel Tunnel.

About two months ago, as many as 60 refugees at one time were housed in this small village, home to no more than 500 residents.

Arora himself is proof that many immigrants go on to great success in Britain. He arrived from India at the age of 13, and started his career as a Heathrow baggage handler. He is now worth £356 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List and lives in a £6 million home in affluent Virginia Water, Surrey.

Edited by Fairyland

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Somewhere where it is possible to be self-sufficient, meaning somewhere with a good supply of fresh water and fertile soil, the sun also helps. ;)

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