Fires started as Brixton squatters evicted

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Bins have been set on fire in protest at an operation by bailiffs to evict about 70 squatters from six mansion blocks in south London.

About 40 properties in the buildings on Rushcroft Road in Brixton were cleared by Lambeth Council in the early hours.

The occupants had been staying there illegally for years and many had not paid rent since 2000, the council said.

One person was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, police said.

Officers were called to Rushcroft Road at 02:20 BST.

It is believed some local residents joined the squatters to protest over the eviction.

'Active community members'

Lambeth Council said it had been in talks with the squatters for two years to try to move them on and said those evicted would be supported in finding somewhere else to live.

The council said: "We are taking action this week because it is unfair on the thousands of residents in need of housing in Lambeth that a small minority have been unlawfully squatting in six mansion blocks on Rushcroft Road, Brixton, and not paying any rent or council tax.

"Following the eviction of the unauthorised occupants, three of the six blocks in Rushcroft Road will be sold to bring the remaining three blocks back into use as 22 new homes for social rent.

"The other three blocks will be sold to generate a significant capital receipt."

The council said many of those evicted were "active members of the community" and housing officers would meet them to assess their housing needs.

London Fire Brigade said firefighters were at the scene to deal with items that had been set alight in the road.

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