Squatters evicted from £4.2m Clifton Wood mansion in Bristol
SQUATTERS have been kicked out of multi-million pound Clifton Wood mansion, leaving it trashed.
Once Bristol's most expensive property – on the market for £4.2 million – many of the house's rooms today lay in tatters.
In the end, it took more than 50 police officers to clear the building.
Yesterday's eviction came after nearby residents began complaining on Saturday evening about a noisy party at the gated mansion in Clifton Wood Road.
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The party continued to get louder throughout the evening, with more people seen going into the property, which squatters moved into in February.
Officers got into the main room in the house where the party was being held at about 6am yesterday, but were met by a group of around 35 "hostile" revellers.
Some of the squatters climbed onto the roof to pelt officers with bottles.
Police arrested four people and continued to monitor the property before returning at 7.30am.
A fracas between police and squatters then broke out in the street, believed to have been sparked when further sound equipment was seen being taken into the house.
Three officers received minor injuries during the incident.
Dozens more police – around 50 officers in total – arrived at the scene and streets around Clifton Wood Road were closed off for most of yesterday morning. Officers then entered the house and removed the squatters.
Eleven people were arrested during the night and are currently helping police with their inquiries.
The building has been left strewn with rubbish.
The kitchen lies in tatters with graffiti scrawled across the walls and the indoor swimming pool has been partly filled and strewn with rubbish.
A private security firm was called in to board up and secure the property to stop further squatters getting inside.
Following an order of possession being granted last week at Bristol County Court in favour of the building's owners, The Bank Of Scotland, bailiffs had been planning to evict the squatters.
Some squatters – many who said they moved to the mansion after being evicted from the Occupy Bristol Camp at College Green – accused the police of brutality and told the Evening Post they had captured the police's "forced entry" on video.
The squatters claimed the police did not have a warrant to evict them and that they were simply holding a party for a friend's birthday.
Police told Evening Post they cleared the building using powers to stop raves under the Criminal Justice Act and no warrant was needed.
Traveller Dexter Josephs, 19, said: "We were just having a party for a friend's birthday and we were not making a noise." Fellow squatter Raoul Duke, 22, said: "The police have treated us quite horribly. All the neighbours have been fine with us.
"The police asked us to turn down the music, which we did.
"They were outside in the riot vans and then kicked in the doors and pushed through the metal gates.
"We locked what doors we could inside to slow them down, but they continued to boot in the doors.
"They put my arm behind my back and pushed me out.
"We don't feel we have done anything wrong. Essentially, this course of action has just left around 35 people homeless."
But residents living near the 10-bedroom property said they were glad to see the back of them.
Retail assistant Yeeyan Yip, 30, who lives at Randall Road, said: "When they first moved in they didn't make much noise, but they started having raves at night in the last few weeks.
"Only the other week they were on the roof knocking off golf balls which were hitting nearby homes and cars.
"We heard the party about midnight on Saturday and we heard a fight break out outside the house and that's when we called the police.
"We then woke up this morning to see the road filled with police.
"We are very happy the squatters are gone as it's been a nightmare for local residents."
Resident Trina Gately, 31, has lived at Church Lane just a few hundred metres from the mansion for two years.
She said: "They have totally trashed the house and the rubbish outside the house had really piled up.
"I heard the commotion at around 2am and there were people in the street and climbing over the walls. This is a quiet area and I hope now they are gone, peace will be restored."
Once the building was empty, squatters were then allowed in one by one, accompanied by police, during the morning to collect their belongings.
Many remained sat out on the street continuing to protest at their removal and singing and playing the guitar.
Others, laden down with carrier bags, rucksacks and quilts, slowly made their way from the scene to look for a new place to stay.
One protester, who would not be named, said: "We are not sure where to go now, but I am sure we will find another squat."
Police remained outside the house for most of the day.
Duty inspector Dave Leyden said: "We received numerous calls from concerned residents living adjacent to the property from around 9pm on Saturday and we monitored the situation through the night.
"During our first attempt we were unable to seize any of the equipment and unable to stop the rave.
"We forced entry into the main room and officers were met with a very hostile atmosphere, so withdrew from the property.
"Officers returned to the scene at around 7.30am where there was an incident and three officers were assaulted. Their injuries were not serious and did not need hospital treatment."