homeless spikes
The spikes were seen outside a Tesco in regent Street and a block of flats in Southwark Getty

Tesco has removed the so-called "anti-homeless" spikes from outside one of its stores in central London following protests.

The metal spikes embedded on the supermarket's Regent Street's window sills caused outrage, as did another set outside a block of luxury flats in Southwark, near London Bridge.

Tesco were targeted by activists London Black Revolutionaries in protest at the spikes. The group vandalised the spikes by pouring concrete onto it.

Further protests were planned against the Regent Street store on 21 June by the activists group Left Unity, with a Facebook group attempting to organise a "sit-out" protest attracting more than 700 members. An online petition to remove the spikes also received more than 115,000 signatures.

Tesco have now confirmed they have removed the spikes, but insist their intentions were never to discourage homeless people, but to cut down on anti-social behaviour such as drinking outside the store.

A spokesperson said: "Customers told us they were intimidated by anti-social behaviour outside our Regent Street store and we put studs in place to try and stop it.

"These studs have caused concern for some who have interpreted them as an anti-homeless measure so we have decided to remove them to address this concern. We will find a different solution and hope this clears up any confusion."

Left Unity say the protests against Tesco will still go ahead even now the spikes have been removed.

Bianca Todd of Left Unity said: "Tesco had tried to distract from the issues here – now they have been forced to back down. Thousands of people have made their feelings known online and this should be a message to any other company thinking of using anti-homeless spikes.

"The campaign to remove all the anti-homeless spikes from everywhere they have been put in continues. We don't want to live in a society where public space is covered in spikes. Homeless people are not pigeons.

"Instead of leaving people homeless, they should be housed in one of the 700,000 homes currently lying empty in Britain. Homeless people need homes not spikes."

Jacqui McCluskey, director of policy and communications for Homeless Link, described the spikes as "shocking".

She added: "Many people who sleep rough just don't know where to turn and are amongst the most vulnerable in our society. Sleeping on the streets is dangerous, bad for your health and individuals need support.

"This approach is not only inhumane, it does nothing to tackle the causes of rough sleeping and just moves the issue on for someone else to deal with."

Correction: This article original stated that Left Unity were responsible for the concrete incident. This has since now amended.