A major clean-up operation at the infamous St Nicholas complex in Chlorakas is underway on Wednesday, the Chlorakas community leader said.

Earlier in the week action was taken to seal off the condemned complex and a round-the-clock security operation was put in place with private security guards to prevent squatters from returning to the apartments.

The complex will be under guard until the court clarifies who will be the beneficiary of the buildings, Chlorakas Mayor Nikolas Liasides told the Cyprus News Agency.

The clean-up operation entails removing truckloads of garbage from within the complex, and cleaning up surrounding green areas, as well as streets, the community leader said.

Additionally, the community council will take pest-control measures, spraying the area for mosquitoes.

The mayor explained that three separate crews were working to complete the sizeable clean-up task, one to gather the rubbish, another to remove it, and another to clean adjoining spaces all around the complex site.

Some external walls have been painted and a hut has been installed for the security guards, he said.

The five private security guards, paid for by the community council and a private loan company, have been hired to monitor the apartment complex since Tuesday, while the entire community and surrounds are also monitored by police patrols, according to Paphos CID chief Michalis Nikolaou.

Besides, the department of public works last Friday began with the installation of metal grids to seal off the building entrances. The task is expected to be completed within a week, by Friday.

Nikolaou said that although the police had fully evacuated all apartments of their inhabitants they nevertheless continue with extensive checks daily to prevent any new or returning squatters from taking up residence.

Ongoing stop-and-search operations and patrols are also underway to deal with criminal activities and strengthen security in the wider area, the police chief said.