The squatters who took over the former pub The Bohemia pub in Finchley have been evicted after police and bailiffs smashed through barricades in dramatic scenes this afternoon.
At just after 5pm around 20 High Court bailiffs joined by police, including canine units, forced their way through the rear entrance of the pub in North Finchley High Road before the occupiers, who entered the building in September, agreed to leave quietly.
The squatters had turned the abandoned building into a community hub following its sudden closure in August.
They have been given until 10pm to clear their belongings out of the building.
At a hearing at Barnet County Court, administrators Chantrey Vellacott, acting for the pub’s previous tenant Antic Ltd – which went bust in January – were granted a possession order that became active at 12pm today.
Documentary filmmaker Aaron Jolly, 23, from Edgware had been staying at the pub on-and-off for three weeks before the raid.
“It was quite scary,” he told The Press. “We boarded everything up and we made some barricades and they basically in five or ten minutes smashed them down with crow bars and came in with a dog unit.
“It was like a war zone for a minute. We didn’t resist at all. It wasn’t terrifying but it was intimidating. It was definitely aggressive tactics that they used.”
Dominic Smith, 27, who had been living at the pub for the past couple of weeks said he was surprised Chantrey Vellacot had decided to retake the property so soon after the court ruling.
“They haven’t give us any time to get ourselves organised or get a place to go.”
Squatter spokesman, Pete Phoenix said: “A lot of people are going to have to find other places to stay but we have got some squat friends and some people from the neighbourhood have come forward who agreed to put them up.”
Phoenix also criticised Chantrey Vellacott for failing to negotiate with the occupiers.
“They went through a lot of money in the High Court. They put £23,000 into court costs.”
The Press contacted Chantrey Vellacott and is awaiting a response.