The squatters who have taken over the private island of the former Raven's Ait wedding and conference centre invite us over for a visit to their 'eco-centre'.

From the moment you moor up to Raven’s Ait Island it is obvious you are encountering no ordinary group of squatters.

After reading the health and safety disclaimer and signing the official guest book, you are met by helpers wearing high-visibilty jackets and salvaged Raven’s Ait uniforms.

Squatter Peter Phoenix, 38, hasn’t paid for a home in 18 years. He claims to want to turn Raven’s Ait into an "eco-centre".

There is a conference room containing a white board with lists of local contacts and a library which will, according to him, soon be filled with environmental books shipped over from a former squat.

He has plans to create a Live Edit TV Studio, so guests and speakers can have their views recorded, and he hopes to build a teepee and dome in an eco garden.

Make-shift signs in fluorescent card are sellotaped to the doors to distinguish the conference room from people’s bedrooms.

And the romance which filled Raven’s Ait on many a wedding event has not been forgotten as they have a “honeymoon suite”, which has its own sign boasting the views over to Hampton.

Although most of the most expensive possessions were removed by the former owners, storage rooms are still filled with flowers and decorations. Rose petal confetti is still strewn across the carpet in a reminder of what the venue used to represent.

From first impressions, Peter Phoenix and his gang cannot be criticised for being reckless vandals intent on damaging the place and using it as a party pad.

As we walk round during the pre-arranged visit, people are cleaning the kitchen, making repairs and organising cupboards.

Not liking the negative associations with the word squatter, the group prefer the title “care-taker” and even have their own caretakers’ logbook.

Many of them have squatted before, but for some the multimillion pound Raven’s Ait is an introduction at the more distinguished end of squatting, complete with river views most law-abiding citizens could only dream of.