The owner of a million pound house in Watford has accused the legal system of letting down home-owners and rendering them powerless to evict squatters.

David Caplan says he was “in shock” when he received a telephone call two weeks ago informing him three squatters had moved into his four-bedroom, detached home on the Cassiobury Estate.

However, he says his subsequent battle to evict the unwanted guests has left him aghast at how helpless the law made him feel and astonished at the rights afforded to squatters.

Mr Caplan was delivered the bad news by his estate agent on the afternoon of Thursday, April 30.

He was informed the plush home, which he rents out, had been taken over by squatters while his tenant was away. He was told there was a possibility his home was being used as a drugs den.

Speaking to the Watford Observer on the condition we do not publish which road he lives in, Mr Caplan, 46, said: “I couldn't believe my luck.

"It felt like when you are burgled, there is that sense of violation of somebody being in your home.

“But I just thought it would be a straight-forward process to get them out.”

Later that day, he accompanied a police tactical team to the house on the assumption they would simply evict the squatters by force.

He found shabby posters, all printed from the internet, pinned to the front door and windows, saying squatters had taken control of the house and were claiming squatters' rights. They had also filled the lock on the front door with glue.

He was then told the police were powerless to evict the squatters as there was no sign of a forced entry and he would have to get a court order to remove them from his home.

Mr Caplan, who runs a property company, said he was unable to prove the squatters' claims that they had walked in through an open door were fictitious.

He was told if he broke into his own home or tried to physically evict them he could be arrested.

He was also advised because the house was let out, the police could not enter the house without the tenant's authority.

Instead Mr Caplan was advised to go home, contact his tenant, who was away from the house for a few days, and start court proceedings.

He said: “I felt sick, I didn't eat or sleep.

“I was worried I was going to lose my house because of squatters.

“I didn't have any rights – none whatsoever as the home owner. I hadn't been living there so technically I had not been displaced from my home.

”They seemed to have all the rights”

The squatters were finally evicted after they allowed police into the house on Thursday.

The incident has left now Mr Caplan, who has praised the police officers who helped him, afraid to leave his house unattended.

And while he says he has a degree of sympathy for the squatters who took took over his designer home, Mr Caplan has vowed to use his story and clarify the law.

He has already met with Watford's prospective Conservative MP, Rickard Harrington, to discuss his plight.

Mr Harrington said: “I have discussed this whole issue, and Mr Caplan’s case in particular, with Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Justice Minister, and Grant Shapps, the Shadow Housing Minister, and I will be pressing the next Conservative Government to bring in legislation to protect innocent homeowners.”

Mr Caplan added: “I know how it made me feel at the weekend and how ill it made me and it would make anyone feel like that.

“I was completely powerless.

“I intend find out about the law and to do something about it.”

Two people, a 38-year-old man and a 26-year-old man, have been arrested on suspicion of abstraction of electricity. They have been released on police bail until May 30.