Ipswich shopkeeper tells of yobs’ taunts and abuse as teenager given restraining order

Prashant Shah at his shop in Queen's Way

Prashant Shah at his shop in Queen's Way - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

An Ipswich shopkeeper plagued by teen yobs today spoke out after one of the tearaways was given a restraining order by the town’s magistrates.

Prashant Shah, of Pick ‘n’ Pay in Queen’s Way, said he has lost business after being subjected to a campaign of taunts and abuse which has led to him feeling vulnerable, fearful and frustrated.

The 31-year-old said his frustrations have been heightened as he has been unable to fight back for fear of ending up in trouble himself.

Mr Shah was speaking after 18-year-old Max Sinclair, of Gippeswyk Road, Ipswich, appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates court where he admitted theft from Mr Shah’s shop and harassing him.

The magistrates described the incidents as “particularly nasty”.

Mr Shah said youngsters would stand in front of his door creating a sort of barricade which put customers off coming into his convenience store.

He added: “I have had family issues because my father is ill and in the middle of all that you have youngsters taunting you and shouting abuse. You call the police and as soon as they are about to come they (the youngsters) run off. It’s just a game of cat and mouse.

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“When they leave they come straight back. It’s a vicious cycle.

“It is difficult because they stop customers coming in. If customers don’t come in I don’t make money.

“If definitely makes me scared but I still need to run the shop because if I don’t I don’t get paid. At times at night you are fearful. The slightest noise and you are awake.

“The minute you go to touch on one of them you have broken the law.

“The police have been brilliant. I wouldn’t knock them.

“But it’s got to the point where I keep telling the police something has to be done as when you keep poking the dog eventually it will bite back.”

Mr Shah said he works from 8am to 10pm seven days a week and has suffered problems in the past, but does not suggest it was anything to do Sinclair.

“I have been attacked before – our van was burned and our car got burned out.

“I got Tasered and my colleague got swung at with a baseball bat outside the shop as we were locking up a few years ago.”

Mark Holt, representing Sinclair, said: “It wasn’t totally his intention to cause upset.”

He added Sinclair was much younger than Mr Shah and what the teenager and his friends might find acceptable was not acceptable to the shopkeeper.

Mr Holt told magistrates: “Had he (Sinclair) been there alone his behaviour might have been somewhat different. He doesn’t accept he made any threats towards the shopkeeper – generally his behaviour was poor.”

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