Belfast Telegraph

Terrifying mini-riot is last straw as business owner shuts up shop

By Claire Weir

CCTV footage taken from a chip shop in Co Antrim at the weekend has highlighted the grim reality of anti-social behaviour against local retailers.

Shops — most notably fast food premises because of their late opening hours — are bearing the brunt of mob violence.

One businesswoman today tells how she is pulling down the shutters on her chip shop after a decade in business.

Stills from a security camera show a mini riot outside Sarah Anderson’s shop on Main Street in Glenavy on Friday night.

She says a four-year campaign of violence against her family and property has cost her more than £12,000.

Mrs Anderson says she had an asthma attack, her husband suffered a cracked cheekbone and her 27-year-old daughter was headbutted and dragged along the ground by her hair during the four-hour melee, much of which was captured in shocking CCTV images.

A teenager has been arrested and is due to appear in court next month in connection with the trouble.

The exasperated shop owner said the cause of the shameful vendetta is a misunderstanding over a court case unrelated to anyone in her family, which took place more than four years ago.

However she says that other young people from the village have latched onto the ringleader and have been attacking her family and her property for no reason.

“It’s all the same group of boys and it has been going on for four years and I have finally had enough,” she said.

“I’ve had the shop 10 years almost to the day, there’s been four years of this anti-social behaviour and after Friday I’m just giving up.

“One guy in particular smashes our windows and tries to kick the door in on a weekly basis. The whole thing has cost me £12,000 in repairs over the years, all out of my own pocket, no one has ever helped us.

“I’ve had death threats too. My daughter’s car has been attacked with baseball bats and acid. But Friday night was the worst yet.”

She added: “This one lad, who is usually behind it all, started verbally abusing people who were standing talking to me and my daughter in the shop doorway, he was off his face on drugs, asking them why they were talking to scumbags like us.

“When they left he followed them down the street still shouting at them.

“When he came back he said he was going to stick a knife in me and he headbutted my daughter.

“We phoned the police. Later a gang of up to 20 or 30 people came and stood outside the shop chanting and shouting abuse, calling us touts. We were hemmed in and I took an asthma attack.

“We had to call an ambulance as my heart rate was dropping. I phoned my husband to come and help and when he arrived he was attacked by the gang and had his cheekbone cracked.

“When my daughter went out to help him she was thumped in the back of the head and trailed along the ground by the hair. This all went on from between 9 o’clock at night until 1 o’clock on Saturday morning, that’s how long they were standing there chanting at us and attacking my family.

“We have even been told by police in the past that they had intelligence that someone was planning to put a petrol bomb in our gas tank.

“If that happens the whole place would go up and not just us but a lot of the buildings around the chippy. People would die.”

Police confirmed that one man was arrested following the disturbances.

“A 19-year-old man will appear at Lisburn Magistrates Court on September 20,” she said.

“He faces charges of threats to kill, aggravated assault, threats to damager property, disorderly behaviour, resisting police and criminal damage.”

The spokewoman denied claims from the Anderson family that police did not do enough to prevent the trouble on Friday night.

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