London’s bylaw boss is defending a city crackdown on a curbside campout in northeast London, even amid a storm of online criticism.

Orest Katolyk said removing a man known by friends and neighbours as Sunny James and his makeshift shelter on city property north of Huron Street and Highbury Avenue was a last resort after weeks of failed talks.

“This action was taken in response to numerous citizen complaints both to our department and to London police to ensure public safety and pedestrian safety on city sidewalks,” Katolyk said.