Grow Heathrow “Great Escape” tunnel cleared by the National Eviction Team

On Tuesday 26th February 2019, the National Eviction Team and The Sheriffs Office undertook the removal of occupiers from the Grow Heathrow site at Sipson Village. The protesters had been expecting us the week before and had issued a call for support online and on social media.

The eviction was undertaken under a High Court writ of possession, which was issued to The Sheriffs Office, an authorised High Court enforcement company. The National Eviction Team works very closely with The Sheriffs Office and supports them on specialised evictions, such as this.

Site entry

Timing was crucial for the commencement of the eviction: our entry team went in first, followed swiftly by the main team. A police helicopter was monitoring the position due to the proximity of the site to Heathrow Airport.

There were nine protesters on the site covered by the writ, and approximately 30 more on an adjacent plot of land to the rear.

Protesters at height

As soon as we gained entry, two protesters climbed up the tower they had constructed out of scaffolding tubes. There were several lock-ons on the tower and one protester locked-on.

Whilst our climbers were going up the tower, the protesters started throwing stones and urinating on the enforcement agents at ground level. Once our specialist climbing team reached the protesters, they removed the protester from the lock-on and the other agreed to climb down with no resistance.

We also found several lock-ons at ground level, along with two more on top of a corrugated roof. They ranged from simple lock-ons to two that were substantial. We made them all safe and unusable.

The National Eviction Team secured the perimeter site quickly with fencing to mark out the boundary between the writ site and the adjacent land.

Ship ahoy!

On site we found a container with two people asleep inside (they were removed from site), a shed in one of the greenhouses and two landlocked boats, an 8-ton 25-foot yacht and a Thames Cruiser owned by and put on site by the protesters. Since the completion of the eviction, we are working with the owner to arrange for a crane to remove the boats.