A hindu temple is set to move into Mitcham in controversial style after it was evicted out of its former home of 16 years by bailiffs who seized their sacred contents.

The Sivayogam temple, is relocating to a site in Lion Road, Mitcham, opposite Queen’s Road cemetery, after being told to leave its old premises in Hebdon Road, Tooting, which attracted thousands of visitors each week.

Following a protracted legal dispute with owner Barrowfen Properties, eleven priests were evicted and the building sealed, preventing worshippers from entering or removing 16 gold and gem-encrusted statues of gods believed to be worth about £100,000.

Founder and spiritual leader of the temple Nagendram Seevaratnam, 74, said: “It is the way they would have treated criminals.

“Everybody is devastated, people are crying, I can’t describe how people feel. There is disgust on the face of the deities.

“I feel disappointment in the administration and the way the police have behaved.

“I roundly condemn the sacrilegious conduct of the enforcement officers and police in gaining forceful and blasphemous entry into the temple.”

Following an order from the High Court, they were at the temple accompanied by police officers and their solicitors to collect their belongings and ensure nothing had been damaged, on Tuesday, May 29.

A source close to the temple said they were appalled that meat-eaters had entered sacred parts of the temple wearing shoes, regarded as sacrilege by Hindus.

They said: “Meat-eaters are not permitted entry into the temple area.“This, notwithstanding high-handed enforcement officers who are beef-eaters, have violated the sanctity of the temple by trampling the area of the shrines with their booted feet.”

A statement from Barrowfen said: “Nobody touched the deities, they were told to just take their personal possessions and leave. We told them in 2009 we would not be renewing their lease.”