Family’s plea as racists threaten to torch business

The Sidhu family who run the Premier store in Airedale.
The Sidhu family who run the Premier store in Airedale.
Have your say

A FAMILY of shopkeepers has had to have police panic alarms installed after being terrorised by racist yobs.

Now the Sidhu family have issued a plea to the thugs who threatened to burn down their convenience store at The Square in Airedale, Castleford, saying: “We just want to live our lives.”

Charanjit Sidhu, her husband Kulwinder Singh Sidhu and their two children, aged three and eight, have been subjected to a growing level of intimidation and abuse since they took over the Premier shop two years ago.

Mrs Sidhu, 34, said: “There’s been something almost every day for the last six months and we have had enough. We just want to be able to live our lives.”

The family, who are of Indian heritage but were all born in the UK, began having problems after barring some teen shoplifters.

Mrs Sidhu said gangs of youths then started to target the family with abuse. “They called us horrible things and told us to get out of the country,” she said. “They started throwing water balloons at us, now it’s eggs.”

Despite regular contact with police, problems came to a head when they received a threat that the shop would be torched, prompting officers to fit panic alarms and extra smoke alarms this week.

“We’re not going to be scared into moving, but it does make you wonder if you have made the right choice,” Mrs Sidhu said.

She added: “Just because we are a different colour it doesn’t make us any different. We’re just trying to make a life for ourselves.” News of the Sidhus’ problems comes less than a month after an Ossett cafe owner put a note on her shop “warning” customers she was black after suffering racism.

West Yorkshire Police said they were supporting the family, had increased patrols in the area and were investigating incidents.

Date: 8th January 2018.

Picture James Hardisty.
Karen Sewell, EMEIA general counsel and UK head of legal at WSP.

Capital of Culture bid has brought Leeds together, says Karen Sewell