Protests were held outside a central London auction which was selling houses with tenants still inside.

Six out of the 63 properties from Butterfields estate in Walthamstow, recently bought by property company Butterfields E17, were listed on the Savills auction list at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.

Threatened tenants and members of the Waltham Forest Trades Council told bidders not to buy the houses which are currently occupied by tenants.

Two of the properties were sold for £300,000 each.

The Butterfields estate houses two-storey 1930s properties and was rented by Glasspool Charity Trust at affordable prices.

But last year it was bought by developers Butterfields E17 which has served eviction notices on some of the tenants, many of whom live on low incomes or benefits.

Stella Creasy, Labour’s MP for Walthamstow, said: “This conduct is being driven by those speculating on the profits to be made within our local housing market and in the process destroying our community as well as placing further pressure on our social housing stock.

“That is why I'm determined we must challenge such behaviour and hold those responsible to account.”

Nancy Taaffe was the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for Walthamstow last year.

She said: “More of these cases are in the pipeline. Just look at the plans to massively re-develop our market.

“This is only the beginning – unless we fight back and stand together to stop this cold cruelty and injustice.”

Glasspool Charity Trust said in a statement that it had to sell on the estate to continue providing support for more than 11,000 individuals and families in hardship.

It said: “We are very saddened to hear that tenants have been or are in the process of being evicted.

“As trustees of the Glasspool Charity Trust we sought assurances regarding our tenants, their rights and protection from our selling agents at the time of the negotiations.

“We were assured that they would be protected within the law.

“We have no power to prevent a new owner from reviewing their position with the existing tenancies post-sale.”

The next Butterfields Campaign to Stay meeting is on Wednesday (February 24) at 7pm at Shern Hall Methodist Church, in Shernhall Street, Walthamstow.

They are planning to protest at the next auction at the Marriott on March 2.

Butterfields E17 could not be contacted.