YMCA is facing bill running into thousands of pounds to evict squatters

Outside Bedford's YMCA community coffee shop, which has been occupied by squatters.

Outside Bedford's YMCA community coffee shop, which has been occupied by squatters.

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A good cause that offers help to those in needs is facing a bill running into thousands of pounds to evict squatters from their community coffee shop.

Bedford’s YMCA has begun legal proceedings after a group invaded the Fountain coffee shop in Thurlow Street.

A spokesman for the charity said: “We have to pay fixed court fees and lawyers cost money - it is just a waste.

“It’s costing the charity money and it’s probably not going to be in the hundreds, it’s going to be higher. Probably £2,000 to £3,000.

“It means that we have to fundraise for more money to do the things we should be doing.”

The coffee shop, which serves up free food to the homeless while also operating as a business, has now been closed for almost three weeks.

Squatters, led by Jason Crowe, claim they had little other choice and were facing life on the streets.

A court notice has now been served on them and a court hearing, when both parties can put their case to a judge, is due to be held on Friday, November 20.

It is hoped that the squatters, who have been playing loud music, will not have caused any damage inside the property.

The charity is expecting to have to shell out even more money to change the locks, carry out repairs and deep clean the venue.

A spokesman said: “We hope they will see fit to just move out as quickly and discretly as possible.”