British TV chef Gordon Ramsay is in trouble with squatters. At least six so-called squatters had set up shop in a posh restaurant owned by the 57-year-old in central London and barricaded the doors, the Sun newspaper reported. It was a nightmare for the star restaurateur, the paper quoted an unnamed source as saying. Police told the British news agency PA that they had no action as it was a civil matter.

Occupying property that is not used as a residential property without the owner’s permission is not a criminal offense in the UK. Police may intervene if crimes are subsequently committed, property is damaged or stolen.

The squatters warned of intrusion on notices on the windows and threatened legal action, the Sun continued. It says: “If you want us out you must file a possession action in the County Court or the High Court.”

The listed building – a hotel and gastropub – near London Zoo has been for sale since the end of 2023 for 13 million pounds (15.2 million euros). It was bought by director Gary Love in 2007 and then leased to Ramsay for 25 years at £640,000 a year. According to the Sun, the pub at Regent’s Park was temporarily closed. The “squatters”, presumably professionally organized, would have used this time to get into the building.

According to government guidelines, squatters can apply to be registered as the owner of a property if they have occupied it continuously for ten years, have acted as owner in it and have not previously been granted a residence permit by the owner.