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All-female group of squatters take over empty shop in Angel

Seven women, and a dog, move into empty Camden Passage salon

09 February, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Belongings piled up outside the squat were removed over the weekend

AN all-female group of squatters has taken over an empty shop in Angel’s famous antiques quarter.

The seven-strong group, along with their dog, moved into the former beauty salon in Camden Passage early last month.

The two-storey property, with a shower and a kitchen, has been empty for more than a year, according to concerned shop-owners nearby.

“It’s sad the local shops are worried about us,” said one of the squatters, who did not wish to be named. “We didn’t know they were worried. We’ve had support from some people who give us food.”

She added: “I joined the female-only group as the male squatters were bullying me. I feel safer here.”

The German squatter supports herself by working as a chef. She moved from Berlin where former punks have created a large squatting scene.

The women, all in their 20s, said the squatting lifestyle, which they enjoy, was the only affordable way to live in the capital amid rising rents.

Another resident said: “We are harmless. We love how squatting works. It can be psychologically hard and physically tiring to move but it’s an opportunity to make a space more beautiful.

“Trust me, every time we move you find new things out about yourself. You also understand how you work together.”

Nearby shopkeepers said they feared the “irritating” squatters would keep customers away.

One shop-owner, who did not wish to be named, said some of the squatters sat outside asking for money.

“We are already on borrowed time as the rent is so high here,” the shop-owner said. “The squatters were banging on a steel drum and it was ­difficult to try to talk to customers.”

A woman police officer was seen visiting the squatters on Monday afternoon to ask if they had made contact with the property owners.

Possessions, including bikes and hula hoops, were piled in front of the squat last week but were removed over the weekend.

Under British law, squatting in a non-residential property isn’t a crime but defacing or stealing from a property is.

Historic Camden Passage has faced difficulties with rising rents in the past year.

Vintage store Cloud Cuckoo Land closed in September after 35 years when the landlord doubled the rent.

The property the squatters now call home was formerly a high-end spa, Kimantra.

The Land Registry lists the property owners as Justin and Conrad Warwick. Neither could be reached for comment.

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