A LEGAL fight is brewing between Agnes Water pizza, bar and grill Kahunas and its landlord, Sandcastles 1770 Motel and Resort, after the owners of Kahunas were allegedly locked out of the premises before the end of their lease in May.
Former owner and director of Kahunas, Bernadette Kerr, said Kahunas had closed down but not moved out when Sandcastles' security guards stopped her entering the premises after the final night of trading on Sunday, May 4.
Ms Kerr is furious, and claims that more than $350,000 of her equipment and personal items has allegedly been stolen.
"They said we weren't allowed entrance to our premises. It's just bullshit they can do this," she said.
Ms Kerr said she called the police, who had attended but said it was a civil law matter and did not lay any charges.
"It's not," she said. "It's theft."
Ms Kerr said she had left five days until the end of their lease on May 10 to remove pizza ovens, walk-in fridges, freezers, and other equipment before vacating the premises.
"It's like renting a house - you've got everything here, all your personal stuff, gifts that friends and family have given me for the restaurant over the years, and it's all still in there," she said.
"It's been so stressful."
Ms Kerr said the only avenue left for her to recover the equipment she claims is hers, is to sue Sandcastles.
Sandcastles 1770 Motel and Resort said Kahunas had a five year lease and had vacated the premises.
"The tenants signed a five-year lease with no options, and with their term at an end they had to vacate the premises," said spokeswoman Rebecca Willis.
"We are very excited about the opening of a new and improved on-site restaurant and pizza takeaway business called The Reef," she said.
The new restaurant is scheduled to open by August.