Barking and Dagenham Council
55 people were found living in just three houses in DagenhamBarking and Dagenham Council

A council in East London has promised to crack down on rouge landlords after 55 people, including 11 children, were found crammed into three terraced houses.

Barking and Dagenham Council, along with officers from the local estate's police team, found dozens of people living in "almost Dickensian conditions" inside the homes.

In one home on Fordyke Road, 22 people including four children were found living in a illegally converted four-bedroom house. Less than a mile away in Japan Road, officers found 12 adults and three children inside a three-bedroom property. Inspectors also found a bed in an outside shed at the address.

In Manor Road, officers found 18 people including two children squeezed inside six rooms at a house originally designed to only hold three. Barking and Dagenham Council said in all three properties there were health and safety hazards, including illegal wiring and no fire precautions.

One neighbour on Fordyke Street said they had raised concerns about the property but were shocked to discover the true extent of the conditions inside.

Dagenham houses
The raids were led by Barking and Dagenham Council's Private Landlord TeamBarking and Dagenham Council

Agne Arlauskiene, 34, told the Evening Standard: "It's almost impossible to believe people can be living like that, especially with children.

"Rent can be expensive but that is just too many people to live in one house. It can't be safe and it's a terrible way to live."

Councillor Laila Butt, cabinet member for crime and enforcement, said: "It's unacceptable to have these almost Dickensian conditions in a world-class city such as London."

She added: "The vast majority of landlords are socially responsible and they have nothing to fear from our inspections.

"But those criminal landlords who are making a mint out of other people's misery and London's ridiculous rental market are not welcome here and should clear out of Barking and Dagenham or face the consequences."