The family said to leave the house in two days and pledged to stay and take in dozens of Ukrainian cats

The family of David and Karen Yates have not paid any rent for their Hardwood home in Bolton since 2007, after saying they were promised a new council tenancy deal which never materialized

David Yates and his wife Karen have been given legal notice to vacate 11-acre Earls Farm on Stitch Mi Lane in Harwood by the end of April

A couple told to leave their home in two days by the local council ignored their eviction notice – and took in Ukrainian cats instead.

The family of David and Karen Yates have looked after the land at Earls Farm in Hardwood for over 300 years, with David taking over the tenancy when his father, William, died in 1995.

The pair have not been paying rent since 2007, after saying they were promised a new lease from Bolton Council which never materialized, Manchester Evening News reported.

The couple were recently advised to take ‘opposing possession’ of the land – also known as squatters’ rights – and filed an application with Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR).

Earls Farm cattery in Harwood, Bolton, welcomes cats from Ukraine


Earl’s Farm)

However, after submitting the application, the couple received an eviction notice from the council.

In the notice, they were told the local authority would “vigorously defend” the request and that they had to vacate the land by April 30.

David, 65, and Karen, 54, also have an 84-animal cattery, an innovative manufacturing center for making barley straw that kills green algae, a facility for ‘Men in Sheds’ – the charity men’s mental health charity – and a beauty and nail treatment company there.

And they will continue to manage their affairs despite the threat of deportation hanging over them.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recently contacted Karen, asking if the couple would be able to house cats that had been brought to the UK from Ukraine.

Karen Yates of Earls Farm cattery in Harwood, Bolton, welcomes cats from Ukraine


Phil Garlington)

The couple agreed, wanting to help with the tragic situation faced by Ukrainians fleeing the country and giving their beloved pets a place to stay while they complete the UK’s mandatory quarantine period.

The cats will be housed in Bolton for three months before they are released from the quarantine requirement.

After which the cats will be reunited with their owners.

Karen said: “DEFRA contacted us about two weeks ago to ask if we would consider hosting cats from Ukraine and we said yes, we wanted to help as much as possible.

David and Karen have a cattery of 84 animals


Earl’s Farm)

“We received a phone call and inspection via video call as they could not get up to see us in person and said we would be happy to allocate a full unit of chalets as I know they are really under pressure to move cats forward so they can bring more cats.

“The lady I spoke to told me she really needed to move on and was really happy with the cattery.

“We do daily observations on all the cats in our care but because the cats from Ukraine are in quarantine, DEFRA wants us to monitor them more closely.

A farmer whose family has looked after a plot of land for more than 300 years says he will defy an eviction order issued by his landlord


Google Maps)

“I’m really happy that we can help, the situation is really desperate and I’m very relieved that we can help.

“It’s nice to be able to get everything ready and just push the button for them and show off the unit and our food stores and everything we have at the cattery.

“They said the cats could start arriving as early as Thursday but everything is ready for them.

“We’ve been doing it for so long now that we know what we’re doing, so I know they’ll be fine here.”

A Bolton Council spokesman previously said: ‘We are unable to comment due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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