Gang death of shop worker 'was only a matter of time'

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A north London shop worker’s death at the hands of a teenage gang was “only a matter of time,” RN has been told. 

Vijay Patel, who worked at Rota Express in Mill Hill, was attacked on 6 January after he refused to sell cigarette papers to three teenage boys who were unable to provide ID. 

Mr Patel died in hospital two days after receiving a blow to the head, caused by a fall, after he was hit in the chest outside the store. 

However, retailers say crime in the area had been spiralling out of control, and while some had noticed increased police patrols, it was not enough. 

Ajmeet Singh, of Broadway News, near Rota Express, told RN he is experiencing three instances of abuse per week, compared to none three months ago. He has also been forced to cancel his newspaper deliveries. 

“The delivery boy used to go through a nearby park, but it’s become too dangerous because of increased gang presence,” said Mr Singh.

Kamal Thakar, of Stop Shop News in nearby Edg-ware, said: “It was only a matter of time before someone lost their life.” He added 60% of crimes he had experienced involved racial aggression. 

“Crime in my store has increased by 10%. The only punishment is a slap on the wrist,” said Mr Thakar. 

NFRN national president Linda Sood described the death of Mr Patel as “truly shocking” and said the thoughts of the NFRN are with his family. 

“Retailers have a right to feel safe in their stores and it is critical politicians and police address the issue of retail crime once and for all,” she said. 

According to the Association of Convenience Stores, 9,430 incidents of shop violence occurred in the 12 months leading up to March last year. 

Commenting on Mr Patel’s death, detective inspector Ian Lott, from the Metropolitan Police, said: “A man lost his life trying to uphold the law. If you saw something, please get in contact.”

A 16-year-old boy had been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Mr Patel as RN went to press.

 

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By betterRetailing ⁣ 12 Jan, 2018

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Have you banned sales of energy drinks to under-16s?

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