A private landlord who forced tenants to live in 'medieval conditions has been fined pounds 9,200 by magistrates. Ninety-three people were living in the 24 flats above shops in Hanbury Street in Bethnal Green.

Larkblad Developments had ignored previous warnings from Tower Hamlets council to improve the chronic damp, outside toilets, leaking roofs and broken windows. The company was found guilty of seven contraventions of the Public Health Act, and a further pounds 2,000 fine was levied for dangerous wiring. The council is now attempting a forced sale of the building.

Phil Maxwell, chairman of the housing committee, said: 'Any landlord showing this sort of contempt for their tenants will be dealt with swiftly.