Bailiffs wearing balaclavas smashed windows and stormed a house to evict eco-campaigners from a house near Abingdon.

A group of seven campaigners - four female and three male - had taken over Sandles House at the side of Thrupp Lake, in Radley, which is at the centre of a row with power giant RWE npower over plans to dump ash from Didcot Power Station.

Specialist bailiffs working on behalf of RWE npower smashed open French windows in one of the downstairs rooms where squatter Lisa Peakman was sleeping at about 5.30am.

Ms Peakman, 38, said: "I was woken by a loud bang and showered with broken glass from the French windows.

"The bailiffs were dressed in black and wore black balaclavas. There was no warning, they just smashed their way in. Fortunately I was not hurt but it was a very unpleasant experience."

More than a dozen bailiffs carried out a search of the five-bedroom property and ordered the seven squatters to leave the house.

One protester had locked himself to an old concrete-filled oil barrel in a small cabin on top of a 35ft scaffold structure built by the squatters at the side of the house.

It took bailiffs nearly two hours to release him and the tower was then demolished.

A tunnel and chamber with room for two people had been built underneath the basement of the house. It was equipped with an air supply but was never used. A layer of concrete had been laid on Monday but had not set to make the chamber habitable.

Another squatter, Dave, said: "We may have lost round one but we will re-group and consider our next course of action. We are not finished yet although we can't go back to the house which will be occupied by security people."

The Rev Malcolm Carroll, who is acting as spokesman for the protesters, said: "We have planned for this, but it is still a terrible thing to see the bailiffs, supported by police, arrive.

"Whatever happens over the next few days we will continue to fight npower. Our campaign is planned in phases, and this is just the first of them."

Eight members of the action group Save Radley Lakes watched the eviction as observers.

One member, Dr Peter Harbour, said: "The squatters have put up a brave fight against a powerful company whose plans to use Thrupp Lake as a dumping ground for spent fuel ash is to be condemned. But the fight is not over by a long way.

Chief Inspector Dennis Evernden of Thames Valley Police said: "Our role was to observe the eviction, prevent any breach of the peace, and ensure the right to peaceful protest was balanced with people's right to go about their lawful business."

Kelly Brown, spokesman for RWE npower said that having received all the planning consent npower needs, plans for Thrupp Lake can proceed very shortly.

She said: "The team of bailiffs working on behalf of RWE npower went in and removed most of the squatters apart from one who had attached himself to a tower and for health and safety reasons we waited until it was safe to remove him.

"The eviction went off without incident and everyone was safe - which was out main priority. We are now in the process of securing the property. After this we can proceed with our plans for the lake."

Two people were arrested by police and taken to Abingdon Police Station.