A string of violent attacks at a Brighton pub squat led to a raid and the arrest of five people for stealing electricity yesterday morning.
More than 30 people were found in the Lectern Pub in Pelham Terrace, Lewes Road, when officers forced entry at 10.38am after being called to reports of a fight in which someone was said to have been seriously injured.
Five of the occupants were arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, including one man who was found hiding in the building following a police search. Those arrested, four men aged 25,21,27 and 42, and one women aged 21, are currently in custody for interview and further enquiries.
Two people received hospital treatment for injuries believed to have been caused whilst they were in the squat. The injuries are not reported to be serious. Several other people had sustained injuries but refused any medical treatment. No police officers were injured.
Officers are carrying out enquiries to try and determine how the injuries and damage were caused.
The pub, owned by Jersey-registered New Leaf Investments, has been closed for a year, and a notice informing squatters of an eviction hearing was posted on the door on January 20.
The outcome of the hearing, which was held on Wednesday, is not known as it was held in chambers at Brighton County Court.
However, it is clear the squatters had not left, as officers had been called to reports of three separate incidents of violence overnight on Saturday (30 January) at the address.
On each occasion despite officers arriving and offering assistance no-one from the squat would provide any account of what had allegedly occurred or even identify themselves as the people who called.
Chief Inspector Katy Woolford said; “Although this incident did require a significant police response it was important to deal robustly with those inside, and to secure the premises quickly as people had been hurt and there is clear evidence of criminality. This was achieved in less than an hour.
“The building was in a state of squalor. The internal fabric of the building had been smashed, graffiti was sprayed on most walls and fixtures inside were destroyed.
“We have made arrangements for the building to be secured to stop re-entry and to prevent any further disruption to the local community.
“We would like to thank local people for their patience during this incident.”
At the height of the incident there were briefly some 20 police officers at the scene, but the situation was quickly brought under control and most officers were able to be redeployed elsewhere.
Several power tools that it is suspected may have been stolen from vans in and around Brighton were found during the police search. Anyone who believes that the tools belong to them is asked to contact the police via email@example.com or call 101, quoting serial 471 of 31/01.