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Officers evict squatters who invaded Muswell Hill pub hours after party

PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08 18 July 2017

Police were called to the former O'Neills pub in the early hours of Sunday morning returning in the evening to force squatters out of the Muswell Hill Broadway venue. Picture: Richard Lewis

Police were called to the former O'Neills pub in the early hours of Sunday morning returning in the evening to force squatters out of the Muswell Hill Broadway venue. Picture: Richard Lewis

Archant

Squatters were turfed out of a pub hours after staff enjoyed a closing down party.

Police were called to the O’Neills pub on Muswell Hill Broadway just before 4am on Sunday after getting reports of a break in at the former Presbyterian church.

A cleaner who discovered the group is reported to have had a knife pulled on him by one of the squatters before being told to hand over the keys.

On arrival officers found squatters had invaded the pub hours after staff had left for the night having celebrated the venue’s final hours of trading with a closing down party ahead of planned refurbishment work.

As a civil matter officers left the scene before the venue owner contacted them later that day.

The group, reported to include women and children, pinned a notice to the door signed “the occupiers” stating the pub was their home and they intended to stay there with any attempt to gain entry using violence or its threat resulting in legal action. It added that any attempt to remove them would have to go through the high court.

At 7.30pm police returned to the Broadway issuing a warning to the squatters they were committing aggravated trespass “by preventing the lawful activity of the pub owners”.

Soon after the owner gave permission to enter, officers used a battering ram to storm their way in but because the front doors had been barricaded on the inside with tables and chairs they were delayed allowing the squatters time to flee through a number of side exits.

Eyewitness Richard Lewis heard about the pub’s closure and was on his way to the venue to find out what it would become when he saw 10 officers with a police car and van parked outside.

“I literally turned the corner and there were all these cops outside. There was this chap shouting through the letter box telling them their rights then bish, bash, bosh they broke through the doors.

“It was like something out of a cop show. It was quite dramatic. It was like watching Line of Duty. I was wondering if there was a film camera somewhere. I’ve never seen anything like this in Muswell Hill,” the 47-year-old from Crouch End said.

No arrests were made and an investigation is ongoing.

Since the eviction builders have started work to turn the venue into a steakhouse.

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