Drug users and squatters are breaking into and making a home for themselves at the former Menzies Swindon Hotel.

The intruders have smashed rear windows to get into the abandoned four-star hotel on the corner of Fleming Way and Islington Street .

It has been empty since The Menzies Hotel Group was sold to international property and investment group Topland on November 29, which forced its immediate closure.

Almost 50 staff were made redundant and Christmas parties were cancelled with just hours’ notice.

Brian Morris, centre manager for The Parade, which incorporates the Menzies site, said: “We check the building when we can.

“Some areas of the building have been trashed and we have actually found people sleeping in the building.

“There have been no fires. Thankfully there’s been nothing like that, but we have found evidence of needles in the building. We have, of course, moved people on when we’ve found them.

“I have seen just four people we have needed to move on.

“There is evidence of other visits, but those four are the only ones I am aware of.

“The place is basically secure now. The broken windows at the back of the property were boarded up this week.”

He said furniture or moveable items in the building have been moved out.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said officers had been called to the site five times since January 1, with the most recent incident taking place on Wednesday, when two males had reportedly entered the building.

Both offenders were spoken to by officers, who were called to the scene by the owners of the building.

Dog handlers have also been at the building in recent weeks, clearing out the building where necessary.

“On each occasion we have attended the scene and several times there has been evidence that homeless people are living inside,” he said.

“The Neighbourhood Policing Team are patrolling the area and keeping a close eye on the Menzies, but we would ask people to call 101 immediately if they see any suspicious activity in the area.”

Since the Menzies group stopped trading November, Ignis Asset Management, the building’s owner  has been pursuing lease guarantors who are responsible for seeing it remarketed and filled by another business.

Portfolio manager David Rodger said there will be a development with guarantors in the next seven days.

“If our pursuit of the guarantors on the lease comes to nothing we will step in and remarket the property,” he said.

“We hope to lease it to another hotel operator. We would prefer the property to be occupied and trading.”