Squatters take over Gordon Ramsay hotel and pub in London

Squatters take over Gordon Ramsay hotel and pub in London

Squatters have taken over a pub in London leased by Gordon Ramsay that is up for sale with a guide price of £13m.

A group of at least six people locked themselves inside the Grade II-listed York and Albany hotel and gastropub, next to Regent’s Park, boarding up the windows and putting up a “legal warning” defending their takeover, the Sun reported.

In photographs taken before the windows were further boarded up, a person could be seen sleeping on a sofa in the bar, surrounded by litter.

Gordon Ramsay in a suit at a football matchView image in fullscreen

On Saturday morning, two masked people wearing black tracksuits and carrying backpacks and carrier bags exited the property, running away from reporters before they could be approached for comment.

A notice taped to a door said the group had a right to occupy the venue, which they said was not a “residential building” and was therefore not subject to 2012 legislation in England and Wales that made squatting in a residential building a criminal offence.

The piece of paper, signed by “the occupiers”, also said: “Take notice that we occupy this property and at all times there is at least one person in occupation.

“That any entry or attempt to enter into these premises without our permission is therefore a criminal offence as any one of us who is in physical possession is opposed to such entry without our permission.

“That if you attempt to enter by violence or by threatening violence we will prosecute you. You may receive a sentence of up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

“That if you want to get us out you will have to issue a claim for possession in the county court or in the high court.”

A piece of paper with large writing saying 'This it a residential building' and 'Legal warning – take notice'View image in fullscreen

Ramsay called the police on Wednesday but was unable to have the people removed, it is understood.

Another notice asked passersby for “food and clothes donations or anything else you no longer want or need”.

The occupation of a person’s non-residential property without their permission is not a crime in England, though police can take action if crimes are subsequently committed, including damaging the property or stealing from it.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement: “Police were made aware of squatters at a disused property in Parkway, Regent’s Park, NW1 on Wednesday 10 April. This is a civil matter and so police did not attend the property.”

In 2007, the film director Gary Love bought the freehold of the former 19th-century coaching inn.

He subsequently leased the property to Ramsay on a 25-year term with an annual rent of £640,000.

The Kitchen Nightmares host unsuccessfully attempted to free himself from the lease in a legal battle at the high court in 2015.

The venue went on sale at the end of last year with a guide price of £13m.

According to government guidance, squatters can apply to become the registered owners of a property if they have occupied it continuously for 10 years, acted as owners for the whole of that time and had not previously been given permission to live there by the owner.

Source: theguardian.com