Tarek Islam, a private hire driver who works for 720 Taxis, was minding his friend’s business, Tasty Bites, in Hyndneye on Tuesday (February 25) when a group of about seven to 10 youths started banging on the shop’s door with their scooters and then attempted to steal the man’s taxi sign.
CCTV footage caught the group at around 7pm on the night, which saw Tarek trying to defend the shop and then chase the group down after one member took the sign off his taxi.
Tarek, who describes the youths as an ASBO group, said, “I felt intimidated, annoyed and threatened. When I confronted them they started laughing like hyenas. If they got away with the sign it could have cost me about £600, I can’t work without it. I would have had to take a week off work while the council got a new one to me.”
Tarek said the police do patrol the area but the youths run away when approached, and the taxi driver has a message for the group.
The 32-year-old said, “Please stop. We don’t think it’s funny. In a few years down the line you will have a job and you will know what this feels like, someone taking your job away. Kids will be kids but when they start interfering with your livelihood, it is not funny.”
Another shop in the area was approached by the Herald and one of the workers said, “These kids have no respect. The police can’t do anything, the kids just run away. They’ve caused thousands of pounds worth of damage here after breaking an air-conditioner. We had to throw £2,000 worth of stock out, which led to customer complaints because there’s nothing to buy. Everyone in the area has complained.”
A Sussex Police spokesperson said, “Shortly before 7pm on Tuesday (February 25) police were told that a group of children aged eight to 15, some with scooters, had congregated outside shops at Queen’s Parade, The Hydneye, and were causing a nuisance by hitting windows and interfering with parked cars. A trader told them to leave and they dispersed. No damage was caused.”
A spokesperson for McColl’s, a shop which is also in the area, said, “The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers is of utmost importance. We will to continue to work closely with the relevant authorities in response to any incidents of anti-social behaviour.”