A suspect has caused up to £2,500-worth of damage to Scottish NFRN member Hassan Lal’s store following a break-in three days before Christmas. 

The police arrived at Park Licensed Grocers in Paisley at 6.50am after receiving a call from a resident who lives opposite. “The culprit got into the building via the roof,” said Lal. “When he jumped down, he knocked over a number of crates of beer, so you can imagine the mess.”

Once inside, he broke down the door to gain access to the store itself. “He clearly headed straight for the alcohol and cigarettes. While smashing through the gantry door, he knocked over about 30 bottles of whisky and wine.”

As the suspect exited onto the roof, the police were already on the scene. “Five police vehicles and 11 police officers, including an inspector, were in attendance,” added Lal. “He refused to come down, entering into a half-hour standoff with them, meaning negotiators had to be called.”

It has been confirmed that a suspect has since been arrested. However, Lal claimed: “I have helped the suspect in the past, I’ve given them food and drink from the store – it’s just horrendous.”

Two other incidents in Paisley, including a ram raid and a shopkeeper being held at knifepoint, were also reported in December. “Crime is getting worse,” said Lal. “Courts need to start giving tougher sentences to repeat offenders. We should be able to give a victim statement in court, so that we can face them and tell the impact of what they have done to our lives.”

He stressed the wider consequences of crime: “This has had an impact on my health and my family, not just my business. When a court imposes a two-year sentence, they need to stick to it, not just make them do six months and then release them.”

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