THREE squatters managed to avoid eviction from a community centre by heading to the roof.

Bailiffs, Arun District Council officials and Sussex Police officers all took part in an operation to clear Meadview in Lyminster Road, Littlehampton, to remove 25 people occupying the site yesterday afternoon.

However three activists remain with the council promising to remove them as quickly as possible.

Members a group calling themselves the Rainbow Commonwealth argue the council have failed to maintain the centre which could now be let to a private nursery company.

They say they have taken direct action for “the greater good of the community”,.

Hilaire Purbrick, who is currently living on the site, said he had been involved with “argy bargy” with bailiffs attempting to evict them.

He added: “We were told they couldn’t come up and get us because of health and safety, apparently they would have to use a cherry picker to get us down.

Nigel Croad, resources director and deputy chief executive at Arun District Council, said the operation to remove the squatters followed the council being granted a possession order by a county court judge.

He added: “A number of individuals and all vehicles and caravans have been removed from the site today.

“As the eviction warrant has not, as yet, been fully executed the council is liaising with the court bailiff and Sussex Police to ensure the remaining three illegal occupants are removed as safely and quickly as possible.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said police attended in case of a breach of the peace.

She said: “Nearly all of the occupants and vehicles left but two people went on the roof of the one of the buildings. The council decided they could stay on the roof until they came down of their own accord.”