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Choccywoccydoodah counts cost of 'out of control' Brighton squat party
Updated 5:22pm Thursday 24th April 2014 in News
The owners of Choccywoccydoodah have told The Argus of the shocking state squatters left their empty Duke Street shop in following yesterday's dramatic raid.
Squatters said yesterday that the violence happened after a party which started over the weekend got out of hand. Four people have since been arrested.
Christine Taylor, founder and director of Choccywoccydoodah, arrived at the scene shortly after the raid.
She said there was “untold damage” caused to the building and what she believed was human waste all over the ground floor and upper floors of the building - despite there being a working toilet inside.
Speaking from the trashed ground floor of the shop, she said: “From what I understand there was a party last night and someone got hurt.
“Doors have been damaged and the walls have been painted, there is faeces everywhere too. We're going to have to get a professional cleaning company in.”
Asked what she thought of the squatters, she said: “I think in all honesty, I talked to as many as I could and there were a very small number of children who have slipped through the system who don't have parental care and have fallen through any sort of safety net that the social services offered them.
“I have sympathy for those ones. There's a teenager and he's a decent kid, he just doesn't know where to turn to.
"The rest, the older ones, they're just middle-class, educated and have drug problems. But I feel more sorry for me than I do them.”
It is the second time in a month Ms Taylor has dealt with squatters. She believes the same group occupied Choccywoccydoodah's new shop in Meeting House Lane in February, shortly before the firm moved.
She added: “We're a tiny family business. Every penny that comes into the company goes back out on staff. My staff have a very interesting background between all of them.
"They haven't had to do this, they worked really hard. This sort of thing for a company this size threatens our livelihood. We can't afford to subsidise 30 people sleeping here.”
Squatter George Justice, 16, said a group of around ten people arrived at the building on Friday and treated it with “respect”, but then over the weekend further squatters arrived and caused trouble.
He said: “We thought it was completely empty and closed down because the shutters were down, the building was empty and there is a sign on the door saying the company had moved.
"Also there is a 'to let' sign up above the shop. “It was beautiful, we tried to treat it with as much respect as possible. But then some others came over and just tore the place up.
“There were just too many people in there. “It's annoying that we try and treat places with respect and others come along and trash it. It gives us a bad name.”
Asked what his plans were now, he said: “I'll rough sleep for a bit and wait for another building.”
Another squatter, who didn't want to be named, said: “Basically we were squatting it only for a few days but some of those who were in there decided to throw a party and invited everyone in Brighton to it. It all got out of control.
“We got back from a night out and it was already going on with loads of random people in there. At the end of the day when you've got youngsters in the squats who don't know the cardinal rules, don't invite out of control people in.”
The Argus spoke to another squatter claiming to be called Sebastian Stain, who said he was responsible for throwing the party.
Talking in the third person, he said: “This geezer called Sebastian broke in and had a party. I don't care that the others are annoyed they got kicked out because of it.
“It's a political view and a statement against the establishment. Bring down the establishment. I told the police 'at least let me sleep so I don't have a hangover'. They woke me up. I was very upset. They said 'wake up' I said 'no' and then they threw me out.”
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