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Cornerstone Housing Co-op Raided by Police

by omni Thursday, Dec. 05, 2002 at 8:42 PM

At 8:45 on Thursday 28th November 2002 both houses which make up Cornerstone Housing Co-op (in Leeds, UK) were raided by the police. The raid was in connection with an action against the 'New Tribes Mission' (in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific)

This message is forwarded from Cornerstone Housing Co-op:

At 8:45 on Thursday 28th November 2002 both houses which make up Cornerstone

Housing Co-op (in Leeds, UK) were raided by the police. The raid was in

connection with an action against the 'New Tribes Mission' (in solidarity with

the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific) in Grimsby, Lincolnshire on 11

October 2002. The raid was carried out to secure evidence namely some computer

hard disks that were reported stolen during the action.

After an hour or so of searching they decided to arrest everyone who had slept

in the houses that night and anyone who came home during the search (13 people

in all). We assume that this decision was made as the houses were a lot bigger

than Lincolnshire police expected and most people have a lot of stuff in their

rooms, so they wanted us out of the way.



The police took a wide variety of personal and communal effects. They seized 15

computers between the two houses. The computers at both houses were used by lots

of people and groups. We've discussed what we think is on the computers and are

not too worried about that, but we obviously don't know what other people who

are not members of the co-op had saved on them. If you have used our computers

in either house in the past then please be aware that the police now have copies

of any work you have done. They also have our email address book and email

archive.



It is possible that Lincolnshire Police may take a number of months to return

the computers.



One of the justifications for the raid was that a van was stopped in the

vicinity of the action and our address (number 40) was given by one or more

occupants of the van. We were totally unaware that our address had been used in

this way until Thursday. The members of Cornerstone ask that people who are not

members of the co-op don’t use our address in such circumstances.



All arrestees were released without being charged with "conspiracy to burgle"

(for which we were arrested), but have been bailed to return to the police

station on 6,7,8,9 January 2003. Everyone arrested had fingerprints and DNA

taken (this was authorised by a superintendent as we were not charged). While

some members of Cornerstone have a history of political activism on a wide range

of issues, other members of the co-op are simply people who believe in the

co-operative ideal and want to live in a housing co-op - this has been

especially hard on them (it was a very extreme first arrest). Everyone in the

co-op knows that someone has been through EVERYTHING that they own while they

were locked up.



How you can help

We've had many offers of support and messages of solidarity over the past few

days for which we are very grateful. We have been lent 4 computers so far, so

those whose work relies heavily on them can continue to earn money, although

they have taken part of a printing press owned by Footprint Workers Co-op, which

is based in one of the houses.



We are no longer desperate for computers, but one more decent one for 2-3 months

would be good.



If you live locally to Leeds and you can help us make a front door and replace

the door frame at number 16 then that would be really appreciated (the door is

not a standard size).



We don't need money as the co-op can cover its material losses.



We would like to express our solidarity with the other three places raided in

the last ten days on unrelated pretexts, namely A-Spire (Leeds) last Saturday

night, a friend in Manchester on Sunday and the Sumac Centre (Nottingham) on

Friday.

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