The controversial Acorn group of anti-letting agent activists has been accused of intimidation of female staff during a protest outside and inside an agency - which appears to have been the wrong target of the complaints anyway.
Local media in Lancaster report that Acorn - which in the past has protested inside agents’ offices in other locations - decided to protest outside the Mighty Student Letting Agency, alleging unfair charges being levied on one of its members.
However, the protest turned nasty when activists entered the office.
A Mighty House spokesperson told The Visitor news website: "The protest was with regard to a student who rented a room from a landlord whose property is managed by Mighty Student Living.
"A situation arose which resulted in the student vacating before the end of the tenancy. The Mighty Student Living team have been trying to resolve the matter in a professional way, whilst trying to balance a sensitive issue with legal responsibilities to pay rent.
"Acorn Communities have taken it upon themselves to protest against Mighty House. However, Mighty House is an estate agent and not involved in the letting of student houses and therefore the protest was levied against the wrong company.
"In addition to this, at no point prior to the protest did Acorn contact Mighty Student Living to discuss their concerns and give a chance for comment. Instead they held a protest without warning against a company which has no involvement with this matter, and in an inappropriate manner.
"They entered the Mighty House office and filmed two young female members of staff in an intimidating way, causing considerable upset, which resulted in the office being closed early.
"We would suggest that Acorn review their facts and consider the conduct of their members before demonstrating outside of other business premises which can cause unfair damage to the reputation of companies such as Mighty House who have an outstanding track record for customer service and satisfaction.”
In the same publication an Acorn representative is quoted as saying: "It should be noted that Acorn Lancaster and Morecambe did not block either the pavement or the entrance to Mighty House and aimed to ensure that the workers within the agency were not intimidated using peaceful protest at this action.”
Another unnamed individual but said to be connected with the case is quoted: "Today was about taking the fight to Mighty Student Living over an incident that happened six months ago. Their constant emails and threats of debt collectors have caused so much anxiety and contributed to the decline of my mental health.”
Acorn has form when it comes to protests at agency offices.
As far back as 2015 Letting Agent Today reported on Acorn activists in Bristol protesting outside offices; other protests by the same group have been in held in Nottingham and earlier this year in Manchester.