The place was relatively secure within the first half and we set about tidying the place up. Section 6 notices were place in the windows and were readily visible.
The first sign of any trouble was 3 Community Protection Officers who began knocking on the windows. In general I am amused when I see these people as I understand their powers to be relatively limited. I was surprised by their behaviour though. One demanded that I open the door or he would 'let the dogs in' which I think was a clear attempt at impersonating a police officer. Another seemed to corroborate this by displaying a badge with the Nottinghamshire Police logo (which actually read 'Nottinghamshire Police authorise this person to act as a Community Protection Officer') in response to my questioning if there were any police officers here.
The CPOs were relatively easy to deal with and soon backed down. A real police officer turned up soon after and they all began to behave themselves a little. This police officer asked to talk to someone not through a window so I went outside a back exit and talked to him around the front. He acknowledged that the building was in disrepair and he could not be confident that we had forced entry so it was he agreed a civil matter. He was in the process of contacting the owners and we should expect them to try and get us out etc. etc.
Shortly afterwards two of the owners arrived in an expensive 4x4, noticeably with ladders on the roof rack. We began to worry a little. The police were still here at this point, though the officer I had spoken to had left and was replaced by another. The 3 CPOs, presumably with less pressing commitments were all in attendance. I listened to the officer give a little speech to the owner where he said "I agree that the law is ridiculous, but as it stands you're not allowed to enter that property by force and remove those people" He used the 'I'm obliged to tell you this' style and even used the phrase "you do what you want".
It was around this point that another van pulled up and 4 people got out, also involved in owning the property. These were 3 younger men and an older patriarchal figure. All looked very menacing. The owners began looking for points of entry into the building, partly speculating as to how we'd got in, but also serving the purpose of finding points which they themselves might enter through. The police looked on. A couple of our friends had turned up outside to observe what was going on and the police actually went over to them to suggest they left as the situation was getting dangerous. They stayed.
As an aside, it seemed strange to me how the situation could be dangerous as the law was clear and police officers were in attendance and could easily call for backup.
The next thing there was a loud banging noise as one of the owners started kicking in a door. We all quickly went to the front and tried to make it out of a front window which unfortunately wouldn't open wide enough. We then made it out a side door with owners and the police/CPOs in persuit. We made it down onto the street to look back and see all 6 of the owners crew, the 3 CPOs and the police all together in a crowd on the front. All of them had entered the building together and come through and out the door we had exited through.
Fortunately there were no injuries and we all left quickly and everyone made it away safely.