Squatters who were hoping to change the perception of their actions have been evicted.
The group had occupied a premises on the corner of Upper St James Street and Bedford Street in Brighton.
Naming it the Black Star Cafe, the squatters promised the commercial property would be opened as a “temporary social centre” and cafe.
But they were evicted from the former shop, which they had decorated with an anarchy symbol, just hours before their planned grand opening.
One of the squatters, only known as John, confirmed to the Argus the squat had been evicted by the landlord.
But he said the collective were hoping to do a similar project elsewhere in the city and were looking for a new location.
A series of notes had been put up in the windows of the shop promising the cafe and announcing the squatters’ presence to the community.
One of the notes, titled “hello neighbour”, said: “First off we apologise for any disturbance caused... and hope that we can have a positive relationship in the short time we are here. We will keep noise to a minimum.”
It added: “This is a drug-free zone.”
Another note asked “What is a Squatter?” before explaining “unless you personally know someone who squats, there’s a good chance most things you believe to know about us are in fact myths and stereotypes pushed by the corporate media to dehumanise and distance squatters from the rest of the public”.
It invited people to enter the premises to chat to the squatters.
The offence of squatting in a residential building carries a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000, or both.