Squatters move on, but leave caravans behind
A GROUP of squatters who took refuge in a warehouse near Old Market have moved on – but insist they have not dumped their caravans.
Around a dozen got into the old disused warehouse in Jacob Street last Monday night after spending the last five months in a property in nearby Bragg's Lane.
The group, who arrived with four caravans and two dogs, describe themselves as a "family".
They left peacefully on Friday after a county court order was obtained for their eviction.
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They say they had left Bragg's Lane after the owner agreed they could have a week to move on.
Two caravans have been left – one in Jacob Street and one in Unity Street – but squatters insist the caravans will be removed as soon as their owners can arrange a tow.
On Friday bailiffs accompanied by officers from Avon and Somerset police attended the property to ensure the group honoured the order.
Police confirmed they had no problems with the squatters who they said left of their own accord.
A squatter, who asked to be described as Jock, said the tight-knit group lived as a family and were respectful to authority figures.
"We are a group of young people who have nowhere to go," he said.
"We are a unit – we live as a sociable family. We are squatters, not scumbags or junkies.
"We are working class people without a home to go to.
"Many of us work part time. I do labouring and another works as a chef.
"We like to leave places in the same way we find them – often in a better state.
"We have been friendly to every official. I understand that it was not our building but it was our home and we looked after it.
"We did not wreck it and were not partying all night.
"We are polite and respectful and complied with the court order to get out.
"We understand they want to use the building but we had a right to squat there because it was a building that was not being used."
Jock said police had allowed them to park the caravans outside until they could get a tow.
He added that everyone had found somewhere else to stay including friends who had allowed them to park caravans on their driveways.
Jock said they were helped by Bristol Housing Action (BHAM) who describe themselves on their website as "a non-hierarchical collective of squatters and their supporters who help provide housing and other support for homeless people."
One resident who lives opposite where the squatters had been, who did not wish to be named, said: "We were quite concerned when we heard but then met them. However we would rather have them than a building site – they are a lot less hassle.
"I guess it's the fear of the unknown but when you meet them you realise they are nice people who have nowhere to live."
A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police confirmed police had attended the property in Jacob Street to ensure the eviction went ahead.