A group of young activists has occupied the closed Friern Barnet Library and issued demands to Barnet Council.

Four men in their twenties broke into the building in the early hours of this morning and today demanded that the authority let them open a community library there.

Barnet Council shut down the popular venue in April despite a desperate and heartfelt campaign by protestors.

Council security staff visited the premises this morning after the alarms were set off during the break-in.

The squatters reportedly told members of the Blue 9 security team that they were from Camden and that they wanted to open a library.

In a bizarre twist, the authority has entered into negotiations with the squatters, offering them an alternative location and a stock of books.

A council officer has been down to meet the men and is this evening (Wednesday) showing them around the restored Friary House, in Friary Park.

In a statement, Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of the council, said: “We have been trying to encourage community libraries in the borough for some time.

“If this group would genuinely like to open one in Friary House half a mile away we would happily give them the book stock.

“We are currently supporting a very successful volunteer library in Hampstead Garden Suburb and have always been welcoming towards bids from local community groups.”

Friary House was offered as a community library venue when Friern Barnet was closed down, but no group has taken up the proposal.