Asylum seekers in the Northern English city of Middlesbrough claim they have been attacked after they were identified by the red doors on their houses.
The asylum seekers are living in houses provided by a man called Stuart Monk, who has a contract with the government to house immigrants in the Northeast of England. Monk owns a company called Jomast, a subcontractor for global security group G4S, which has insisted on painting the doors of all their properties in a distinctive red colour.
The Times managed to identify 168 properties owned by Jomcast in Middlesborough, 155 of which had red doors. They also managed to speak to people living in 66 of the red-doored properties and found that 62 of them housed asylum seekers.
Some of these asylum seekers claimed the red doors had made them a target for people who had thrown stones and eggs at the properties. In one case it was alleged that dog excrement was smeared on a door and in another occasion the logo of the far-right National Front party was carved into a door.
G4S told Business Insider that there was an innocent explanation for the red doors. They said that it is normal for landlords to buy paint in bulk and that it “is ludicrous to suggest that this constitutes any form of discrimination.” However, following the story in the Times, G4S has agreed to paint the doors in different colours: “We have agreed to repaint doors in a range of colours after these concerns were brought to our attention.”
It really would be odd if Jomast had painted the doors with any intention other than saving money. But there a couple of bits of context that call G4S’ protests of complete innocence into question:
The first is that the Middlesborough-based Gazette newspaper is reporting that the area’s previous MP, Ian Swales, raised the issue of the red doors two years ago in Parliament. The second is that Times interviewed one asylum seeker who said they painted the door white, and then a Jomacast employee told them it was “against company policy” and repainted the door red.
The Home Office have started an “urgent audit” of asylum-seeker housing in the area.
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