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Walsall shop raiders jailed as family owners 'financially ruined'

By John Scott | Walsall | Crime | Published:

Two young robbers whose shop raid drove the owners to try and sell their crime-blighted business have been locked up for more than seven years.

It was the final straw for Indian-born Sumesh Nair and Biju Symons who have been targeted up to six times in as many months, a judge heard.

Sayyaar Ashraf, aged 20, and a 17-year-old youth were hooded and armed with an iron bar when they burst into the Broadway Food and Wine store in Broadway West, Walsall, at 9pm on March 5, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

Both were high on drink and drugs as the younger raider forced his way behind the counter where he kicked and pushed Mr Nair out of the way before snatching £150 from the till, explained Miss Jo Barker, prosecuting.

Ashraf got into a struggle with Mr Symons who he punched in the face as the shopkeeper prised the iron bar from his grip.

He and his colleague then turned on the intruder hitting him with a wooden bat kept for their own protection.

The culprits were recognised by the shopkeepers and police who arrested them the next day, continued Miss Barker.

The youth had been banned from the store and was on bail while police investigated four other ‘incidents’ with which he was allegedly linked between January 10 and February 2, the court heard.

'Financially ruined and terrified'

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Mr Nair said: "I am selling the shop and my house so I can move. This has had a terrible impact on me. Financially we have been ruined. We borrowed money for the shop that we cannot repay.

"We have been victimised by the same people for months. We feel let down and have lost £4,000 worth of trade by closing the shop or not opening at all since the latest robbery."

Mr Symons added: "It started with people trying to steal bars of chocolate and got worse. They are Pakistani and we are Indian. I am scared I will be attacked again.

"We are keeping the shop closed because we are terrified. All I want is a peaceful life."

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Mr Ben Williams, defending, said the 17-year-old got into a spiral of misbehaviour which escalated in seriousness.

Mr Ekwall Tiwana, representing Ashraf, remarked: "He used the bar to intimidate but did not hit anyone with it.

"His co defendant had a grudge against the shopkeepers and he stupidly got involved in other people’s argument."

Ashraf from Main Street, Walsall and the youth, who cannot be identified, both admitted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

The older man was detained for four years three months while the youth received a three year sentence. Neither had previous convictions.

A restraining order bans both from the shop and having any contact with its owners for the next ten years.

Judge Simon Ward said: "You acted swiftly and violently. The effect of your robbery has been extremely serious. It has terrified both of the men."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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