Owner of Leeds sewing machine company: ‘Vandal attacks could force me to close’

Simon outside Vale Sewing Machines. Picture: Scott Merrylees. Below, some of the damaged windows
Simon outside Vale Sewing Machines. Picture: Scott Merrylees. Below, some of the damaged windows
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The owner of a business which has been operating for half a century says vandals could force him to close.

Yobs smashed 12 windows in a “wanton” attack at Vale Sewing Machines, on Middleton Grove, Beeston, at the weekend.

Boss Simon Yaffe says he is now considering moving out of the area.

He said: “I don’t agree with burglary, but you can see why someone might do it if they’re trying to gain something.

“But this is just sheer, wanton wickedness.

“The first thing I do when I arrive in my car in the morning is look up at the windows to check that they’re still intact. That’s not a nice feeling.

“We have always been a profitable company, but now I’m considering closing the business or definitely moving because of this.”

The company has been supplying industrial sewing machines to the clothing industry for more than 50 years, about 30 from its current location.

Mr Yaffe said he believes the attack, which cost about £1,000 to repair, was carried out by one of a group of youths who were drinking and smoking outside the building on Friday.

“I shifted some kids on Friday afternoon,” he said. “They all moved on without any bother apart from one lad, who gave me a load of lip. I think it’s probably him who has done it.

“I’d just ask them why they are doing this. We’re a working class company in a working class area and all this is doing is bringing the area down further.”

The incident came seven years after the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that the business was under threat following a spate of vandal attacks.

Mr Yaffe said he had spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to secure the premises with fencing and grilles on the windows.

“Police can’t do a lot, they’ve told me they’re going to get their special constables to pay a bit more attention around here but they can’t stop it happening” he said.

Inspector Chris Bowen, who heads the Inner South Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This type of mindless vandalism is completely unacceptable and we fully appreciate the impact it will have had on the owner of this long-established local business. We are currently investigating the incident in an effort to identify those responsible and are checking CCTV in the area. Officers will be paying extra attention to the area to deter any further offences.

“We would like to hear from anyone who has any information about who was responsible or who saw anything suspicious.”

Any information to the Inner South NPT via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.