Grow Heathrow “Great Escape” tunnel

On Tuesday 26th February 2019, the National Eviction Team, part of High Court Enforcement Group, supported their client in the removal of occupiers from the Grow Heathrow site at Sipson Village under a High Court writ of possession.

There were nine protesters on the site covered by the writ, and approximately 30 more on an adjacent plot of land to the rear.

The National Eviction Team was called upon to provide specialist climbing and tunnelling services, as well as post eviction security. This included:

Specialist climbing team

The National Eviction team removed two protesters up a tower, one of whom was locked-on. While the climbing team was going up the makeshift scaffolding tower, the protesters were throwing stones and urinating on the enforcement agents at ground level.

Specialist tunnelling team

The tunnelling team is fully qualified and experienced in protester extraction from confined spaces. They undertook the investigation, clearance and back-filling of 22 metres of tunnels which were 3.5 metres below ground. This was the most extensive tunnel they had come across for a number of years.

Although there were reports of up to five protesters in the tunnels, one came out after five hours in exchange for being allowed to connect a power supply from their solar panels above ground to supply the air pump and lighting


The team located and rendered unusable the lock-ons – several at ground level, two on a corrugated roof. These ranged from simple to two that were substantial.

Protesters’ possessions

The National Eviction Team agents prepared a written and video inventory of all items that remained on site, as part of their task to manage the return of personal possessions under a 14-day tort notice, which allows the protesters to collect their items within that time frame.


The team secured the perimeter site with fencing to mark out the boundary between the writ site and the adjacent land.

Find out more

To read a longer version of this article, please visit the National Eviction Team website.

If you would like us to assist you with protesters, squatters or travellers, please call us on 01792 466 771.

The enforcement of writs of control

A guide to the recovery of debt under a High Court writ of control


Enforcement legislation updates

Read the latest news and legislation relating to enforcement