Link road protesters who were evicted from their main camp yesterday have vowed to return.

Activists opposing the controversial £94m Hastings to Bexhill road described their disposal as merely “the end of the beginning”.

Members of the Combe Haven Defenders have been camped in and around the trees since December 21 in an attempt to delay clearance work for the link road.

And while their main camp and tunnels were taken yesterday, a smaller base, known as Decoy Camp, remains.

Protester Indiana said: “Everyone has done really well in delaying work as much as they have. The first stage of action was always going to be what was possible with the resources we had.

"However, we will now regroup and plan to go again. We’re not giving up. This is not the end. This is merely the end of the beginning.”

There were two arrests yesterday as bailiffs removed protesters from tree houses and tunnels.

Simon ‘Sitting Bull’ Medhurst, who has become the poster boy of the protest, was dug out of his hand-made tunnel by a specially trained team.

He said: “They had already exposed me and gave me the choice of going the whole nine yards or coming out voluntarily, so I decided to come out on my own volition.

“I spent just nine days digging a tunnel that held up work on the road for two days. As far as tactics go, I think that’s a result and I live to fight another day.

“I’m going home to have a bath now and then I’m going to assess the situation and find out where my abilities will be best served.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “The operation was successful and it achieved the objective.

“We are working according to our plans and the preparatory works are still within our schedule.”

Police confirmed that a 28- year-old man from St Leonards and a 54-year-old woman were arrested for aggravated trespass and obstruction and remain in police custody.

Protesters and bailiffs put their differences aside on Wednesday night as they battled plummeting temperatures.

A number of activists remained up trees and down tunnels at Base Camp with temperatures dropping to -5c.

Tunneller Simon ‘Sitting Bull’ Medhurst was allowed to surface to avoid hyperthermia and in return, bailiffs and security staff, who were keeping tabs on the protesters, were allowed round the camp fire to keep warm.

Protester, Patrick Nicholson, said: “It was a bit like the Christmas Day game of football in the trenches in World War One.

“We still have people attached to trees and expect it to be a busy day.”

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