THREE ARRESTED @ COMMON GROUND!
At 11am on Monday 5th November, three people were stopped by police in an unmarked police car whilst removing boarding from the entrance of the Common Ground Community Garden in Katesgrove. Carl, one of the arrestees, explained that he told the police officer he was "removing the boarding of the community garden so that the community could use the garden". "The police officer then called the council," said carl, and "I overheard that the council official wanted the police to arrest us so that they could have a photo of our faces". The three young men were arrested for 'attempted burglary' and 'going equipped', hand cuffed and taken to Reading police station where they were added to the ever growing Police DNA database and then held in custody cells for almost eight hours. One of them commented that he could see his teaching career go down the drain as he sat in the cell.
The Common Ground Community Garden Collective had decided to reopen the garden despite council opposition. Since the council regained control over the garden site it has returned to being vandalised and criminal groups have been entering the derelict houses to steal copper piping and lead from the roofs. "We want this damage to stop" said local resident Stu. "Having the community garden open here stopped 5 years of crime, vandalism and decay. Two weeks of council control threatened to reverse that. So on Sunday we repaired the fences and benches, secured the buildings and tidied the litter up. Opening up the front entrance was the last thing we needed to do to reopen the garden for public use".
After eight hours in custody the young men were questioned. "When the police finally understood that we were gaining access to the garden from the road, not one of the buildings, they dropped the case and let us go". One officer said to Carl "we dont have a problem with you doing good things for the community".
This is a prime example of how important it is for people to know their legal rights in the face of police officers and other authorities who often do not know or care.
Common Ground Collective now have new plans to continue our fight, to find out more or get involved or offer your help please email us at: