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Council's shutter ban 'beyond stupid' says burglary victim
A SHOPKEEPER who was burgled twice in five days has lambasted bureaucratic red tape which has stopped him from installing security shutters, writes Poppy Bradbury.
Oussama Nassarrallh, owner of Pam's Fruit and Veg, in Harrow Road, near Elgin Avenue, lost £1,500 - two days takings - after thieves pried open the sash windows to loot the store last week.
He said it was 'beyond stupid' that Westminster Council had stopped a number of small shops from fitting shutters to prevent crime - while nearby big chains including Costcutter and Co-op can.
But the authority said Mr Nassarrallh had opted into a scheme funded by the council to regenerate the area by restoring the traditional appearance of several independent shop fronts. He had agreed to the terms that stated metal shutters would not be permitted as they would compromise these efforts.
Around £800 in cash was stolen from the till on Halloween evening, along with three mobile phones, and another £600 taken on Sunday night (4).
Mr Nassarrallh said: "The council tried to bring back the old designs but didn't put anything in for safety. They say an alarm is enough.
"The thieves got in using a crowbar because we're not allowed to put in shutters.
"Sara's butchers across the street was robbed last year. He put in shutters but the council said he has to remove them in the next few weeks.
"The council try to make the area nice for the council not the people. Why don't they clear the rubbish from the roads and help us out?"
Councillor Robert Davis, leader for the built environment, said shops involved in the regeneration scheme, which began in 2009, had received 'generous grants' from the council and some had seen a 30 per cent rise in profits.
He added: "We have arranged to visit the proprietor of Pam's Fruit and Veg and neighbouring traders to advise how security can be improved without the need for external roller shutters, for example by installing internal shutters. Any further advice on crime prevention should be sought from the police."
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