Seven On Trial Over Nottingham Eviction Protest
7 January 2016, 07:11
Protesters smashed their way onto a roof in Nottingham and sprayed paint at a security guard as they tried to ``occupy'' the home of a man who was evicted in a legal dispute over his mortgage, a court heard.
Supporters of Tom Crawford climbed on to the roof of the property in Fearn Chase, Carlton, Nottinghamshire, on July 24 last year.
He was evicted from the bungalow three weeks earlier following a dispute between him and Bradford and Bingley over an endowment mortgage covering his home.
Security fencing had been put up around the bungalow following the eviction and it was patrolled by security staff and dogs 24 hours a day.
Leicester Crown Court heard the group had discussed plans to protest at the property as they believed the eviction was not fair and legal.
Prosecutor Steven Coupland said one of the defendants, Tom's son Craig Crawford, 31, of Nottingham, called police and told them he was going to the property to ask the security staff to leave.
Mr Coupland added others then gained access to the property by smashing their way in while the security guards were distracted.
One of the guards was sprayed with red paint and the defendants sealed themselves in the roof space.
Craig Crawford is accused along with Martin Atkin, 42, of Long Eaton, Mark Hawkins, 52, of Nottingham, Mark Haining, 51, of Nottingham, Henry Kellie, 48, of Market Harborough, Elizabeth Shier, 41, of Nottingham, and James Bradley, 42, of Wigan, of conspiracy to commit criminal damage between July 1 and July 26 last year.
They all are also alleged to have conspired to commit aggravated trespass between the same dates. All seven deny the charges.
The group climbed onto the roof at around 1pm on July 24 - with three of the protesters leaving at 9.45pm that evening, while three others remained until 4.30pm the following day.
Mr Coupland told the jury of 10 women and two men: ``This is about the action taken by these defendants following an agreement as a group that went beyond peaceful protest and involved illegal behaviour.
``The behaviour was unpleasant, threatening and frightening.''
``This is not about the right and wrongs of the court order and eviction - which plainly caused strong feelings.
``It's not about the conduct of the banks, government, and courts.''