BREWERY bosses said they were ‘evicted’ from their headquarters for nearly two days after travellers ‘forced their way’ onto its site and set up camp.

Staff at Thwaites had been due to turn up for work in Blackburn on Monday for a ‘normal working day’ but a group of around 100 travellers in 25 vehicles were still occupying the site.

The group turned up at around 8pm on Saturday.

Police were called to the Penny Street site on Saturday and they managed to persuade the group to leave late on Monday afternoon.

Until that point the company feared it would have to wait until Tuesday to get an eviction order when the courts reopened.

Thwaites CEO Rick Bailey said staff were now going onto the site to assess any damage.

He said: "We are very grateful for the help and support of police in getting our site back.

“We’re now in the process of assessing what damage has been done and if any repairs need to be carried out.

“It’s far too early at this stage to know the damage they have done.

“It’s been a challenge to understand how we could get control back of our site but at last we have it.

“We don’t know how exactly the police have done it, but we’re so very grateful for all their support.

“This would have been a normal working day for us."

A spokesman for Thwaites added: “We could not have achieved this without the help of Lancashire Police and the support of our local MPs.

"We would like to thank them for all of their assistance over a bank holiday weekend, which we appreciate is a busy time for them.

It’s been an incredibly difficult and frustrating weekend for us all and we are now assessing the criminal damage that has been caused both inside and outside the building, which is considerable and what theft has occurred from the site.

“But despite it being a horrendous situation, we have also seen some fantastic work from our staff who have dropped everything to help or got on with their jobs in far from ideal circumstances.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported us, either in person or through messages. We really appreciate it and we are glad to have our site back.

“Our next task is to start a massive clean-up and get our business up and running once again.”

Supt Russ Procter said: “Following police intervention and with cooperation from those on the site, all the travellers have now left Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn.

"On Saturday evening travellers entered the premises with around 21 caravans and 25 vehicles on site.

“We are aware of concerns regarding alleged criminality at the brewery and are seeking to investigate any offences committed."

The old Star brewery will be demolished and flattened once Thwaites move to a new HQ in Mellor Brook later this year and negotiations are ongoing with the council as to what will happen next with the site.