Scores of Metropolitan Police officers in riot gear 'called to evict people from London homeless shelter'

1 June 2023, 11:40 | Updated: 1 June 2023, 12:42

A line of Met Police officers can be seen lined up outside the homeless shelter
A line of Met Police officers can be seen lined up outside the homeless shelter. Picture: social media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Dozens of Metropolitan Police officers stormed a disused convent-turned homeless shelter in east London this morning.

Footage posted to social media shows riot police from the Met lining up in a row at 88 Hardinge Street, Shadwell.

Witnesses have suggested there are around 100 police officers present, as well as at least six police vans, though this has not been confirmed by the Met.

The building is believed to be a disused 'Sisters of Mercy' convent, which has been turned into a homeless shelter by charity Autonomous Winter Shelter.

The group says it provides "shelter for the homeless, including those affected by the Shadwell Fire".

A spokesperson for Autonomous Winter Shelter said: "Urgent support needed. Please come, record, support, media, cop watchs, legal observers, bring along and contact everybody. We can’t let them take people."

A letter addressed to the occupiers of 88 Hardinge Street said: "Police have received an allegation that your occupation of the above premises is contrary to Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act 2012.

"The legislation provides that it is a criminal offence to occupy residential premises which is applicable to the above building being a former convent with a mixed use element of worship, office space and residential accommodation.

"If you do not vacate the building within 21 day of the date of this letter then the Metropolitan Police will take further action and you may be subject to arrest."

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Meanwhile, local group Tower Hamlets Marxists wrote on Twitter: "Around 100 Met police officers, equipped with riot gear, are carrying out an eviction of an occupied building in Shadwell.

"The Autonomous Winter Housing group occupied the building to provide shelter for the homeless, including those affected by the Shadwell Fire."

LBC has contacted Anonymous Winter Shelter, Sisters of Mercy and the Metropolitan Police for comment.