Social housing protesters scored a double victory after efforts to evict them from two city centre properties failed.

The Justice Not Crisis movement have been squatting in the abandoned Beechwood Hotel on the Bristol Road and a series of empty houses on the Pershore Road, both in Edgbaston.

The occupations are part of their campaign to try and increase the amount of affordable social housing in Birmingham.

They want to see disused buildings given over to provide shelter to homeless people or those on low incomes.

Last week a court ordered the group to leave both sites.

Yesterday morning bailiffs tried to clear the properties but could do nothing as the protestors took to the rooftops.

After a two-hour stand-off the bailiffs from Marston Group High Security Enforcement officers and a police van left, leaving the group still in control of their new home. Lee Moore, of Justice Not Crisis, said: “We are delighted we have managed to retain possession of these two properties.

“In the past we have left when a court has given us an order but this one is too important. We just want the hotel used for something useful.” The group claim the current landlord, Mohinder Kang of Manorcoast Limited, is ruining a conservation area in the grounds of the hotel.

They have also said they have asked Mr Kang to discuss possible future uses for the hotel but he has refused.

“We have asked him to enter into negotiations with us but he won’t even talk to us”, added Mr Moore. “They have cut trees down, burned things round there and covered it in wood chip. It is a conservation area which backs onto the Martineau Gardens.” Justice Not Crisis’s views are echoed by Martineau gardens manager Caroline Hutton, who added: “The area is a site of local interest for nature conservation.

“In the last four years it has been treated very badly. Trees have been cut down, plastic burned there and Japanese Knotweed has been allowed to grow.

“We have been very interested in the occupation and hope there will be some positive movement.”

The hotel’s owner Mr Kang declined to comment.