An enterprising prisoner has put his cell up for rent on flatmate website, easyroommate.co.uk.
The cell, which he describes as a “Bijou studio in the heart of leafy Ham” is part of HM Prison Latchmere House in Richmond. He is offering a roomshare for £325 a month (including bills).
The full text of advert reads:
“One of a kind studio flatshare in attractive old building with original features, bordering Richmond Common and within walking distance of Richmond Golf Course. In need of some renovation, characterful Latchmere House is historically significant having been used by MI5 during the war.
This compact but charming room would suit an environmentally friendly roommate who would view the lack of electricity as a perfect match to the building’s idyllic rural location.
The room is a well-presented flexible living space. Access to B-wing toilets, vending machines, kitchenettes (with microwave, toaster, hot water, and fridges) and TV rooms at all times. No bills for electricity, water, or gas. No TV license and no council tax.
Good transport links and excellent 24 hour security.”
It seems the prisoner, who is identified only as “Norman” on the site, may have read a few too many estate agency adverts while out on day release. In a recent report, Latchmere House – a Category D men’s prison housing 200 prisoners – has been criticised for being under a poor state of repair, with plaster coming off the walls, evidence of damp, and the lack of natural light compounded by the fact that some windowpanes had been painted over.
This is not the first time prisons have been used for purposes other than confining inmates. Ruthin Gaol, Denbighshire, is now owned by county council and used as records office. And Oxford prison, which was closed in 1996, has been redeveloped as a shopping and heritage complex.