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The tunnel people of Las Vegas: How 1,000 live in flooded labyrinth

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar. But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly. Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care - their 400sq ft 'bungalow' boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf. They have been there for five years, fashioning a shower out of a water cooler, hanging paintings on the walls and collating a library from abandoned books. Their possessions, however, are carefully placed in plastic crates to stop them getting soaked by the noxious water pooling on the floor. 'Our bed came from a skip oustide an apartment complex,' Steven explains. 'It's mainly stuff people dump that we pick up. One man's junk is another man's gold. ‘We get the stuff late at night so people don't see us because it's kind of embarrassing.’ Steven was forced into the tunnels three years ago after his heroin addiction led to him losing his job. He says he is now clean and the pair survive by ‘credit hustling’ in the casinos, donning second-hand clothes to check the slot machines for chips accidently left behind. Astonishingly, Steven claims he once found $997 (£609) on one machine. Further into the maze are Amy and Junior who married in the Shalimar Chapel – one of Vegas’s most popular venues - before returning to the tunnels for their honeymoon. They lost their home when they became addicted to drugs after the death of their son Brady at four months old. ‘I heard Las Vegas was a good place for jobs,’ Amy said. ‘But it was tough and we started living under the staircase outside the MGM casino. ‘Then we met a guy who lived in the tunnels. We’ve been down here ever since.’

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