A BUSINESSMAN from Bognor Regis has spoken of his shock and sadness after arsonists set his soon-to-open shop alight last night (August 6).
Barzan Aubid, 31, said his first food delivery was set to arrive next Tuesday with the shop expected to open shortly afterwards.
“Everything looked nice,” he said. “Everything was almost ready and now this has happened last night.”
His shop, which will be called Baltic Supermarket and stock food and drink from all over Europe, was set alight around 2am this morning.
“They came inside with petrol and put petrol around here,” he said pointing at the floor, adding afterwards they went outside and threw petrol bombs in to set it alight.
“There was a lot of smoke when I came here, a lot of smoke,” he said. He lives in the High Street and received a call the shop was on fire.
His fridges were the most-damaged items in the shop, which will be expensive to replace, he said. Mr Aubid estimates the cost of damage at around £10,000, made all the more painful by the fact he had not managed to arrange the shop’s insurance before the arson attack.
He said the people had smashed the window at the front of the shop, which was only exposed because the shutter had been accidentally left partly open.
Nevertheless, he said he would not be deterred by the arsonists and said he still intended to open.
“I want to make Bognor nicer,” he said. “I’m planning to make it better and better here by the Bognor train station.”
The concourse has recently undergone an upgrade and he said he hoped his new shop could add to it, with flags of different European nations planned outside, which he said would show he was embracing people of all nationalities and cultures.
“Here I speak English,” said the Kurdistan-born shopowner. “For me, this is my country and everybody who lives here I have to respect. It doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all human.”
Witnesses were asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101 quoting reference 0087 of August 6.
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