Gordon Ramsay’s REAL kitchen nightmare! Masked squatters who have trashed TV chef’s £13million London pub say they are going nowhere – as they claim they are turning the Grade II-listed building into a soup kitchen to feed the homeless

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Written By Maya Cantina

Squatters who have taken over Gordon Ramsay’s former Regent’s Park pub are getting comfortable in the £13million eatery – saying they are setting up a soup kitchen to feed the homeless.

Camden Art Cafe describes itself as an ‘autonomous’ establishment in north London that is ‘commited (sic) to providing free food and creating a space for the community’. Six squatters are said to be involved.

Donors have been dropping off raw supplies – including 10kg of potatoes – since the radical group moved into the Grade II-listed York & Albany pub earlier this month, leaving rubbish and board games strewn across the property.

Locals speaking to MailOnline this morning have slammed the activists, saying the occupation of Ramsay’s pub – which is claimed not to break any laws – amounts to ‘legalised theft’. The squatters themselves ran away from reporters on Saturday.

Ramsay, who was paying £640,000 a year in rent for the pub, is reported to be incandescent with rage, and is understood to be asking how he can legally have the squatters removed. Police say they cannot intervene as it is a ‘civil matter’.

Do you know the squatters? Email jon.brady@mailonline.co.uk 

Gordon Ramsay’s pub, the York & Albany, has been taken over by a radical activist group who say they are turning it into a soup kitchen

Ramsay is reportedly furious after the pub was taken over just one month after he is said to have closed it while renegotiating the lease

Squatters shared images of the interior of the pub

Some of the food which has been prepared by the self-styled community kitchen

Squatters shared images of the interior of the pub, including dogs (left) and some of the food that had been prepared (right) by the self-styled community kitchen

One of the squatters occupying Gordon Ramsay's former York & Albany pub and hotel in London's Camden area

One of the squatters occupying Gordon Ramsay’s former York & Albany pub and hotel in London’s Camden area

Two of the squatters were seen leaving with backpacks and bags. They did not speak to reporters

Two of the squatters were seen leaving with backpacks and bags. They did not speak to reporters

Two people who had been inside the former York and Albion pub ran away when approached by journalists on Saturday

Two people who had been inside the former York and Albion pub ran away when approached by journalists on Saturday

Board games and a clothes rack were seen set up in another area of the pub, which is said to have closed a month ago

Board games and a clothes rack were seen set up in another area of the pub, which is said to have closed a month ago

A game of chess with wooden figures was set up in the back area - with jars of water and crates of food in the background

A game of chess with wooden figures was set up in the back area – with jars of water and crates of food in the background

A sign plastered on the outside of the building reads: ‘We welcome food and clothes donations or anything else you no longer want or need so we can keep our freeshop going… Knock or contact us on Instagram @camdenartcafe.’

Cardboard was placed on the windows to stop curious onlookers from seeing inside, and ‘legal warnings’ have been slapped up claiming the pub is not subject to anti-squatting laws as it is not a residential property.

The group also claims anyone seeking to remove them could face a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in jail – with Ramsay alleged to be in breach of the law if he tries to enter his own pub.

Camden Art Cafe’s uninvited occupation of the building has sparked fury among locals – and Ramsay himself, who is said to have sought police intervention. 

Colin J, 56, who works for a nearby post office, told MailOnline: ‘What is the point of working hard for a living and contributing to society when people like this can break in to your property and take it over?

‘It’s legalised theft. The government has failed hard working people by not closing loopholes allowing squatters to act with impunity.

‘It just doesn’t seem right. They are using the law for their own advantage. The law should work for hard-working people.’

The squatters are part of a collective group calling themselves the Camden Art Cafe. They appear to have worked fast: according to Camra’s WhatPub guide, the York & Albany is believed to have closed its doors in recent months after going on the market for £13million.

Those behind the occupation created an Instagram account for their activities this month and began posting on April 10, when they announced they had opened ‘a new squatted community space in Camden’.

The first post was deleted from the account late on Saturday morning. MailOnline has sought to contact the group for comment. 

A second post, made one day later, read: ‘The cafe’s first day open! Come and visit every Tuesday and Thursday between 1pm and 4pm. There will always be free coffee, soup and impeccable vibes.’ 

It was signed off with the hashtag #SquatTheLot – a common rallying call in squatting communities to take possession of privately owned properties.

But one commenter said on the post: ‘Occupying this building is taking many jobs away from the local community, you are pathetic freeloaders.’

Board games and a clothes rack were seen set up in a back room area of the pub.

But two masked squatters wearing black tracksuits and carrying backpacks ran away from reporters before they could be approached for comment on Saturday. 

An anonymous donor has left 10kg of new potatoes at the door of the three-storey pub adjacent to London’s Regent’s Park. The squatters have even moved in a cat.

Videos shared on the page showed soup being made as well as a number of dogs lounging around inside.

Inside, crutches, a bag for life, tobacco, plugs, empty water bottles and a sleeping bag were seen strewn around.   

Local post office worker Colin J told MailOnline the occupation amounted to 'legalised theft'

Local post office worker Colin J told MailOnline the occupation amounted to ‘legalised theft’

The squatters have branded themselves the 'Camden Art Cafe' and shared a video of the occupied building on Instagram, but later deleted it

The squatters have branded themselves the ‘Camden Art Cafe’ and shared a video of the occupied building on Instagram, but later deleted it

The occupiers have shared information on their squat on Instagram, claiming they have opened it as a 'free cafe for the community'

The occupiers have shared information on their squat on Instagram, claiming they have opened it as a ‘free cafe for the community’

The squatters have put up a sign asking for donations so they can keep what they describe as a 'freeshop' going

The squatters have put up a sign asking for donations so they can keep what they describe as a ‘freeshop’ going

Crates of potatoes have been left outside the building by donors seeking to supply the squatters with food

Crates of potatoes have been left outside the building by donors seeking to supply the squatters with food

Two masked squatters ran away from reporters on Saturday after they were approached for comment

Two masked squatters ran away from reporters on Saturday after they were approached for comment

The inside of the York & Albany pub when it was still open - showing its cosy seating and plush fittings

The inside of the York & Albany pub when it was still open – showing its cosy seating and plush fittings 

But the pub is now a shadow of its former self - with the squatters dragging the furniture around to their liking and leaving personal possessions strewn on the floor

But the pub is now a shadow of its former self – with the squatters dragging the furniture around to their liking and leaving personal possessions strewn on the floor

A piece of paper signed by ‘The Occupiers’ and plastered on the window, read: ‘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.’

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

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 that time and had not previously been given permission to live there.

Ramsay was reported by The Sun to be seeking an eviction notice against the squatters, who moved in while he was renegotiating the terms of his lease.

A source said: ‘The pub was temporarily closed whilst he was finalising a new lease, and during this handover period a gang of professional squatters somehow bypassed all the security and CCTV, and got themselves in.

‘They’ve now boarded themselves in the building and are slowly taking over the place, leaving their c*** everywhere and brazenly telling locals this is now their home.

‘Some are crashing on sofas, but others have taken over the beautiful bedrooms. God knows the damage and filth.’

Representatives for Ramsay declined to comment, saying the matter was being ‘handled legally’. 

The pub was designed by architect John Nash building and dates back to 1826-27. It is a Grade II-listed building, meaning it is a ‘building of special interest.

The Sun reported that a note on the pub's door (pictured) insists they are able to stay there as it is a 'non-residential building'

The Sun reported that a note on the pub’s door (pictured) insists they are able to stay there as it is a ‘non-residential building’

Pictures show the group of 'six professional squatters' sleeping inside the building, and they have even placed a sign on the door threatening legal action against anyone who approaches

Pictures show the group of ‘six professional squatters’ sleeping inside the building, and they have even placed a sign on the door threatening legal action against anyone who approaches

Film director and actor Gary Love bought the freehold of the derelict former coaching inn from the Crown Estate in 2006.

Ramsay then began leasing the property in a 25-year deal in 2008, turning it into a boutique hotel and gastropub restaurant, but unsuccessfully tried to bow out of the lease in 2015. 

Ramsay had claimed his father-in-law, who was then CEO of his company Gordon Ramsay Holdings had used a ‘ghost writer machine’ to sign his name on a document that made him personally liable for the rent. The court found in favour of Gary Love. 

The restaurant has had its troubles on TripAdvisor. In 2020, a scathing review appeared on the site, criticising what it claimed was a small steak and ‘over-salted’ chips for £23.

The one-star review was titled, ‘Gordon is not Heston’, referring to rival Heston Blumenthal. 

The Mail On Sunday reported in 2020 that the pub had racked up losses totalling a staggering £15 million since opening in 2008. 

The records also reveal that the establishment made losses of more than £550,000 in just one year, to the end of August 2019. 

The Met Police told MailOnline: ‘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.’ 

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