Chicken George bans Tommy Robinson from establishment after surprise appearance
- Credit: Maya Derrick/supplied
A nationally renowned chicken shop has quickly shut down rumours of supporting far-right extremists after a well-known activist was spotted in one of their venues.
Luton-native Tommy Robinson, born Stephen Yaxley, was spotted by patrons of Chicken George Jnr in Hitchin last Friday (October 29), which sparked rumours that a gathering of the English Defence League (EDL) was convening there.
When approached by this paper to confirm the presence of the EDL - an Islamophobic organisation which brands itself as a counter extremism project, which Robinson is the co-founder and former leader of - the multi-award winning diner and takeaway was initially taken aback.
Dumbfounded by the claim, business manager Dan Simpson was quick to dismiss that the popular restaurant had knowingly entertained far right extremists.
"Absolutely not!" he exclaimed. "Why on earth would we have an EDL rally in a chicken shop?
"Absolutely, categorically, no. Of course not! It's not something we'd ever entertain or be involved with. We'd certainly not want anything do with something like that."
With pictures of the supposed gathering to hand and perplexed by the origins of the claim, Dan did some digging and quickly got to the bottom of the story.
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After recognising some faces in the photographs, he managed to piece together what had happened, and was quick to set the record straight.
Ahead of Luton's ex-Team GB turned professional boxer Jordan 'The Wanderer' Reynolds' fight in London, a group of lads booked a buffet and beverages at the famed Luton-turned-Hitchin shop before setting off for the capital.
"Looking at what's happened, Tommy Robinson has turned up about 10 minutes before they've left and got on the coach with them."
Looking at the CCTV cameras, Dan confirmed that the famed EDL founder - who later served as a political advisor to former UKIP leader Gerard Batten - wasn't there "for all that long", and explained that the Chicken George crew had no idea he was coming, and no idea that he'd been until the Comet got in touch.
"He must've known the lads that booked this buffet, and sort of come as a meeting point before heading down for the boxing," he explained.
"He comes in, has a quick bite to eat, he gets on the coach and then goes to London with the rest of them."
Now knowing that Robinson - also known as Andrew McMaster, Paul Harris, Wayne King and Stephen Lennon - had been on their premises, Dan stated that he is now banned from ever coming to Chicken George again.
"We're going to see if we can get in contact with Tommy and say that he's not welcome in the shop.
"Obviously, we don't need this sort of negative publicity, and we certainly don't want to lose customers over it, especially over something so innocent.
"It's just a shame he got spotted there, someone's taken a picture and completely got the wrong end of the stick!" he said, further clarifying that Chicken George has no association with, and does not support, the EDL.
"It's completely understandable, the customer's reaction. We aren't associated at all with the EDL or that ideology."