Two arrests after Polish shopkeeper in Leeds told: ‘Leave this country’

Bramley Shopping Centre (Google Maps)
Bramley Shopping Centre (Google Maps)

Police investigating a racially-aggravated incident against Polish shopkeeper Marek Petzold in Leeds have arrested a man and a woman.

A 53-year-old man and 39-year-old woman were arrested in the Armley area today in connection with the incident at Bramley Shopping Centre.

Mr Petzold, 47, who has a pre-existing heart condition, collapsed and was taken to hospital following the incident at his shop on Tuesday.

He was later released from hospital to continue his recovery at home.

He was outside his shop, the Koala Delicatessen, when he was verbally abused.

His wife, Wioletta Petzold, said she was scared for her husband after he collapsed following the attack.

Mrs Petzold, 46, said: “It was a big shock.”

But the shopworker said they had received messages of support from across the country.

She said: “After this we have felt a lot of support from Bramley. A lot of people came to the shop and said they were sorry for the people, they brought us a lot of flowers, a lot of cards with the words ‘sorry about this’, we even got some cards from London. They said ‘we are friends with you’, that’s really polite, really kind.

“Before this, we were made to feel very welcome, I didn’t even imagine that something like this could happen.”

Chief superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: “We treat all reports of hate incidents very seriously and want victims to come forward with confidence, either directly to the police or through our partner agencies, and be fully reassured that their complaints will receive the appropriate response.

“We are very conscious of the increased focus on incidents of this nature at this time and hope that people will be reassured to see that we have acted promptly to progress this investigation.

“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team will be continuing to provide additional reassurance in the area and we will continue to respond appropriately to any other reports we may receive from anywhere else in the district.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams said: “While we have not seen a rise in hate incidents reported to West Yorkshire Police since last week’s referendum result, we understand the heightened concern in some communities and are aware of the increase in reports nationally to various agencies.

“West Yorkshire is home to richly diverse communities and I want to be clear that there is no excuse for hatred and intolerance on the grounds of race, faith, disability, sexual orientation or gender.”

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