Brighton and Hove City Council were concerned for the safety of Hilaire Purbrick, 45, who was living in the seven-foot cave.

On the local authority’s request the fire brigade checked the site and said as it had one entrance it was a health and safety risk.

The council then applied for, and got, an injunction stopping Mr Purbrick living there.

However, he ignored the ruling and the council went back to court this week and gained a possession order for the allotment and cave.

Geoffrey Theobald, the council’s cabinet member for Environment, said: “We are pleased that the council will now be able to put this land back into use as allotments for the benefit of residents.

“This site was clearly never intended for people to live on and its occupation presents many health concerns, the cave in particular was a substantial health risk, as indicated by the judge in the hearing.

“If Mr Purbrick wishes we will try to assist him in any housing issues he has and, although sensitive to the fact that he has been living there, our main priority has to be to return the land to its proper use.”

Luke Walsh

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