Belfast Telegraph

Florist fears his shop was attacked because he has Polish workers

Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

An attack on a florist's shop in Co Down may have been down to the nationality of the people working there, the owner has claimed.

The front windows of Floresco Flower Co in Kilkeel were smashed on Sunday at 11.15pm by a bearded man dressed in grey Adidas tracksuit bottoms, a Superdry hoodie and Puma or Diadora trainers.

The unknown man and an accomplice, who was wearing a similar outfit but did not throw a stone, were captured on CCTV approaching the Newcastle Street premises from the Newcastle Road.

The first man threw two stones at the windows of the florists before both sprinted back up the Newcastle Road.

In an effort to find those responsible, the owner and director of Floresco Flower Co Andrew Imrie posted the CCTV video - along with stills of the two men carrying out the attack - on the company's Facebook page.

He told this newspaper yesterday the incident had "scared the life" out of the elderly landlady who lives above the premises.

The Kilkeel man, who also owns KWM Wines and Spirits in the town, added that the attacks "felt targeted" because the two women who work in the shop are Polish nationals.

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"They're actually in Poland at the minute on a cross-community trip and were there when this happened," said Mr Imrie.

"It was definitely a deliberate and targeted attack. No other shop windows were damaged that night and it wasn't a random after-pub event on a Friday or Saturday night.

"For whatever reason, they decided to do this. I really don't know (why).

"It is disappointing for everyone concerned, particularly the landlady of the property.

"We obviously had to clean it all up and there was just the hassle of it all."

The owner said replacing the front windows would set the business back by between £600 and £700.

However, he stressed that his shop would continue to open as normal.

Mr Imrie added that the shutters protecting the windows had not been pulled down since the motor operating them was damaged 18 months ago.

Because the shop is in a quiet area of the town, he felt it would be safe from vandals.

"We thought it would be fine because it's a quiet area and there's no issues," Mr Imrie said.

"There haven't been any issues in the town in a very long time.

"There were different periods of time with windows getting broken, but I can't remember the last time I saw a broken window in this town.

"All of a sudden it happens on a Sunday night."

Investigating officers based at in Newry's Ardmore police station are appealing for information regarding the attack.

Anyone with information can contact the PSNI by calling the non-emergency 101 number, quoting reference number 04/11/19.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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