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Ipswich: Yobs’ reign of terror on Chantry newsagents – family feared for their lives

PUBLISHED: 14:16 19 November 2012

Rian, Dipika and Hirenkumar Patel of Lavender News, Ipswich

Rian, Dipika and Hirenkumar Patel of Lavender News, Ipswich

Archant

A CHANTRY newsagent today told how his terrified family have been living in fear of their lives after being constantly hounded by a group of young yobs.

Police hail decrease in anti-social behaviour

EARLIER this month The Star reported anti-social behaviour had dropped by nearly 40 per cent in Ipswich over the past four years.

From January to October this year, it had decreased by 21pc compared to the same period last year, according to police figures.

Officers say this illustrates the priority given to anti-social behaviour and the strategy of working with partner agencies to curb the problem for residents and businesses.

After the case involving Mr Patel, Sergeant Darren Oxbrow said: “Anti-social behaviour is an issue that police take very seriously as it can have such a significant impact on the lives of people within a community.

“Officers have worked closely with residents to address this specific problem through increased patrols, partnership agency working and the utilisation of CCTV in the area.

“We encourage anyone who is experiencing anti-social behaviour to report it to police and not suffer in silence. To report a problem you can call 101 and ask to be put through to your local safer neighbourhood team.”

Two of the teenage troublemakers – Oliver Laughlin, of Fonnereau Road, and Jordan Pearson, of Aster Road – must now abide by restraining orders after admitting a litany of anti-social behaviour against Hirenkumar Patel, who runs and lives above Lavender News in Lavender Hill, with his wife Dipika, 31, and 11-month-old son Rian.

Mr Patel said he has been scared his family would be killed after a firework was thrown on to the balcony outside their flat, just ten feet away from where his son was sleeping inside.

The Patels were so terrified after the incident that they were unable to sleep in their bedroom and have felt compelled to get up at various times during the night to check there home was safe.

Laughlin and Pearson, both 18, pleaded guilty to harassment without violence when they appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, although Pearson denied involvement with the firework incident.

After the case, Mr Patel said he had encountered problems since he began running the shop in November 2010.

However, they became particularly bad over the past six or seven months.

The 38-year-old said: “We have been very, very terrified. It started on a big scale from March.

“During the day they [the group] harass me from the front of the store. At night they harass us from behind the store where my flat is.

“The harassment is sometimes up until 2am. They throw eggs and fireworks.

“Over the last six or seven months, we have looked out of our front and back windows at least three times at night. It’s affected our lives and we can’t sleep properly.

“It’s an unbearable situation. I work for about 15 to 16 hours a day and then afterwards I have had to face other things.

“The fear gets worse. I was worried for my family. It has cost me money, because I have needed enhanced security.

“Our bedroom is on the second floor. If fireworks are thrown and there is a fire in the building, we could be killed.”

Mr Patel hopes the 12-month restraining order against Laughlin and Pearson will calm things down, but he is still worried for the future.

Asked what he would say to the teenagers, he said: “Harassment is wrong. Please stop harassing people. We want to be safe in our home and our shop.”

n What do you think? E-mail starletters@archant.co.uk or write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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