Dorset

Legal bid to evict Wessex Tales Occupy Boscombe squatters

The empty restaurant being used by squatters
Image caption The Wessex Tales vegetarian restaurant closed earlier this year

Legal moves are being taken to evict protesters who have been squatting as part of the Occupy movement in a former vegetarian restaurant in Bournemouth.

The protesters moved into the Wessex Tales restaurant on 7 December. The restaurant closed earlier this year and has been on sale for six months.

Its elderly owners, who live in an adjoining property at weekends, are now taking legal action to evict them.

A court hearing is due to be heard on Thursday.

The restaurant's owners, who are based in Hampshire and are both in their 70s, said they had been locked out of their weekend home because of the squatters.

Kris Hall, the sales manager at Taylor Viscount which is handling the sale of the restaurant and its two adjourning properties, said the 77-year-old man, who has a heart condition and his 72-year-old wife had struggled to keep the restaurant open due to difficult economic circumstances.

Mr Hall said that along with the £1,500 court costs, the couple would have to pay for the damage done to locks and cellar doors.

'Drop down dead'

He added that the couple had asked to remain anonymous.

Mr Hall said: "I spoke to the gentleman who owns the building and he's concerned he's going to drop down dead from it.

"I don't have a problem with people protesting, but why don't they squat in a bank?"

Police were called to the property, on the corner of Ashley Road and Haviland Road, on Wednesday but said the situation was a "civil matter".

However, on 8 December police arrested a woman in her 40s at the restaurant on suspicion of possessing controlled drugs. A number of people were also removed from the occupied building.

The woman has been since released with a warning.

No-one from Occupy Boscombe was available to comment.

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