A family abandoned in Aberdeenshire by Spanish witness protection has been racially abused in their street and fear being evicted from their home.
Alan Kent Garcia was forced to come out from the shadows earlier this month after problems with Spanish authorities and the UK Home Office left his family without an identity.
The father, his wife and eight-year-old daughter, were given protection status in 2015 and claim Alan helped bring down a dangerous Lithuanian gang trafficking guns and drugs across Europe.
The Press and Journal has seen and translated Spanish court documents backing up Alan’s claims.
But now the family live in limbo – they are unable to prove their new identities to the Home Office, unable to use their previous identities, unable to work and are told their benefits will be cut off.
“For how long can you live in this situation,” says Alan.
“This is two years and we don’t have any other options.”
Threatened with eviction
Alan received a letter from Aberdeenshire Council saying the family could be in danger of losing their tenancy after their debt with the local authority reached £668.
“I don’t have any words for it any more,” said Alan.
Their rent is £360 per month.
When contacted by The Press and Journal, Aberdeenshire Council said they did not comment on individual cases.
A council spokesman said: “We are a supportive landlord and will continue to offer support to our tenants when this is needed.
“Any tenant who does fail to pay their rent and then does not engage with us is putting their tenancy at risk.”
The family’s financial problems stem from an 18 month argument with the Home Office who seem unable to process the family’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) application given the unusual circumstances.
‘I can’t afford electricity’
Earlier this month the Home Office again returned an application, stating the Spanish ID of Mrs Garcia had been reported lost or stolen.
The IDs have in fact been cancelled by Spain, a fact that has been made clear to the Home Office on numerous occasions by Gordon MP Richard Thomson and Alan’s lawyer Euan MacKay.
Both have criticised the Home Office’s ability to deal with the Garcia family’s complex situation.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Mr and Ms Garcia’s EUSS applications have not been refused.
“We are working with them and their solicitors to resolve the situation.”
Their struggles with the Home Office mean they are also running into problems with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which has impacted their finances.
“I can’t afford electricity, this place (his home) is cold. I’ve got two jumpers on right now,” says Alan.
“I don’t have anything to sell, the only thing I have left is my car.”
The dad wants to be allowed to work while the process is ongoing but claims he has been told that is not possible.
No birthday for daughter
Their financial plight also meant the family were unable to celebrate their daughter’s eighth birthday last weekend.
“I couldn’t give her anything,” said Alan.
“We just stayed at home with nothing.
“And she asks me what is going on, why do we not work, why do we not have money.
“I don’t know what to say.”
On top of their money troubles, Alan claims he and his wife are now being harassed and abused in the street.
The harassment first began at the beginning of the war in Ukraine when youths targeted his Russian wife, calling her a terrorist.
In recent weeks the group has also began swearing and shouting at Alan, calling him “a grass” for dealing with the authorities in Spain.
‘F*** off to your own country’
“I didn’t expect this from the community,” said Alan.
“They call her a Russian terrorist and say to f*** off to your own country.
“She had to run away from them on the street, this is ridiculous.
“My wife has this situation and then I have it as well.
“This is close to our place where we are living.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Officers received a report of threatening behaviour in the [redacted] area of [redacted] on Monday, March 14, 2022.
“Two further reports of similar behaviour in the same area between Monday, 18 and Sunday, April 24, 2022 have also been received.
“Inquiries are ongoing into the circumstances.”