Fibbers squatters to move out after ‘gang broke in and threatened them’
Squatters occupying the Fibbers building in York say they are leaving after a gang of people broke in and threatened them.
Members of the group the Barbican Community Centre told YorkMix they had called the police and they feared for their safety.
Patrick Thelwell was one of those there at the time. He described it as “pretty traumatic”.
He has been living at the venue after entering it last month saying the group planned to make the venue a community performance centre.
“Some people came down and started banging on the window at 1am on Sunday, trying to get in,” he told YorkMix.
“And we told them this is a community centre, and this is where we live, it’s our home – but they wouldn’t go away.
“Eventually, they came back with more people and started threatening to smash the window. We went upstairs and barricaded ourselves in a room, and they started smashing the windows with a traffic cone.”
He said they called the police who “basically did a drive-by” and the gang rode off on bikes.
“Then five minutes later, the guys came back and just absolutely smashed their way into the building, and started like trying to find us.”
Patrick said they called police again saying “we are imminently in danger here – there’s people inside the building, trying to hurt us”.
He said the gang only went away when someone from the hotel opposite went into the street and “very loudly like called the police”.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to reports of a break-in in a derelict building in Toft Green, York.
“Officers attended the address within several minutes of being called and made enquiries. No suspects were present when officers attended.”
The Barbican Community Centre was planning to hold “a last big music event” before they left. “But we have to move all of our stuff now,” Patrick said.
He added: “We’re in negotiations with a developer to get a six months term lease for the Bierkeller downstairs to use as a library in a community centre.”
And the group are talking to City of York Council about “taking over some some disused care homes” to use as community centres, he added.