Bailiffs have moved to break-up the unauthorised Occupy Homeless encampment in Bournemouth town centre.

There were angry scenes as rough sleepers, homeless activists and supporters clashed - mainly verbally -with bailiffs, who moved onto the site at the former Punshon Churc, Exeter Road, just after 11am.

Protestors had attempted to barricade the front gates of the plot with wooden pallets and masonry, but the entrance was quickly cleared.

A minor scuffle did break out between at least one activist and bailiffs, but Dorset Police officers - who were on hand to maintain public order - ensured no significant trouble followed.

Protestors also hurled blue dye or powder paint at bailiffs as they moved to clear the encampment.

Police have closed one lane of Exeter Road to traffic, from the BIC roundabout, and traffic is being diverted back up Terrace Road towards the Triangle. This closure remains in place and some delays are being reported.

The encampment included tents stocked with food and clothing, as well as first aid to those in need of basic treatment.

Organisers who established the site have called Bournemouth council "disgusting" in their attitude towards homelessness.

Homeless activist Lawrence Best told the Daily Echo: "I am demonstrating against Bournemouth Borough Council against their lack of care, lack of thought. This place here is a sanctuary, we have a kitchen a medical tent, this is our home."

Karen Ralph, who was at the eviction to support the homeless site, said: "People have been donating left, right and centre. There is support locally for the camp. Everywhere I go there are homeless people, I'm not one of these people that can just stop and walk past.

"This is a bad situation they find themselves in.

"These people just need somewhere to put their home, so they can be safe. It is all very well and good saying, on Monday you can sleep here, on Tuesday you can sleep there, they need continuity."

The operation to clear the encampment continues, although most of the tents have been removed by the occupants.

Developers, the Mast (Bournemouth) Ltd have gained outline planning permission for a 96-bed flat complex on the site.

A Bournemouth council spokesman said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety of any vulnerable people who may be on the site. Our rough sleeper outreach team continue to offer support as they are able to, although, as yet very few genuine rough sleepers have been identified and it has been difficult for the team to access them to offer support.”