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Squatters are finally evicted
Squatters failed in their eleventh-hour bid to stay in a derelict building where they have lived for seven years.
They tried to appeal against an eviction notice forcing them from historic Medina House on Hove seafront.
Magistrates upheld the order and told them to leave the property yesterday, where they were escorted out by police and bailiffs.
Owner Sirus Taghan wants to demolish Medina House and build a 100ft block of flats at the site, the design of which has been likened to a "stack of toppling plates" or a set from the film Aliens.
Six people and their dog were evicted from Medina House on King's Esplanade and contractors from Orbis security company were brought in to board it up with metal sheets.
Written on the outside of the building was "Eviction? No surrender! Hold position at all costs" but the squatters left without any trouble.
One of them, known as Loki, said: "There have been squatters here for about seven years and I don't see why we have to go just so this beautiful building can be destroyed.
"We've had an intense time staying here."
Residents said the squatters had made life a misery with graffiti, rubbish and raves that could last 27 hours.
Peter Marrocco, who runs Marrocco's Italian restaurant next door, said: "It is such a weight off our minds now they've gone.
"The noise would start with their parties at 12.15am and go right through until 3pm, with no regard for other people at all.
"In the summer it was impossible to have the windows open because of the noise."
Mr Marrocco said his children, aged two and four, had been kept awake several nights.
Councillors Averil Older and Jan Young have been trying to get action taken against the squatters for four years.
Coun Older said: "Apart from the King Alfred development, this has been the other issue that has given me the most headaches.
"I must have dealt with hundreds of complaints related to squatters in Medina House, mostly with the noise but also issues like camper vans being parked on the seafront for ages, dogs' mess on the beach and the rubbish building up."
Squatters first moved into Medina House in 1999 and the first group living there, called the Chalk Circle, turned it into a gallery where exhibitions were held.
Mr Marrocco said it was when they left and the new squatters arrive that trouble started.
Medina House has been used as Turkish-style baths, a diamond factory and a makeshift hospital during the Second World War.
Mr Taghan expects to submit his planning application for flats by the end of the year.