Cornerstone Housing Co-op raided

office at office at
Thu Dec 5 02:08:45 GMT 2002

Apologies for cross-posting. This is an absolute ****ing outrage! DNA samples taken, computer hard-disks seized! The fascist state has begun in earnest, and is seriously clamping down in Leeds.This follows the recent events at the Aspire social centre, where the people arrested for "disturbing the peace" when they were doing nothing more dangerous than doing art, an organic food kitchen, box schemes ..etc were incredibly described by the judge in court as being "sinister". In think the party happened after that on the 28th, when those in the building were pepper-sprayed out of there.

We live to troubling times, while legislation being passed in Italy which will apply to any Euro citizen who even posts info deemed "subversive", who the Italian police will have the right to arrest in another EU state & bring back to Italy for trial.

Any suggestions for solidarity. E-mail: Cornerstone at
Suggestions for collective action, also e-mail this list.


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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