MINDLESS acts of vandalism have left shopkeepers in Huthwaite counting the cost and asking for more help from police.
Businesses along Sutton Road are afraid to open their shutters for fear of attack and other buildings have been boarded up after bricks were thrown through the windows.
There have also been claims of racist attacks on staff of firms operating on the road and surrounding the market place.
Pet shop owner Tina Adams, of Poppy’s Pet Shop, had to board up her shop front after vandals smashed through toughened glass earlier this month.
“It’s difficult enough operating a small business and now customers drive past not realising we are still open,” she said.
“People know who did it but they are afraid to give their names because they think they will be targeted.”
Heidi Ao, manager for the Fortune House Chinese takeaway, said they had not opened their metal security shutters for around two years after windows were smashed repeatedly. Takeaway staff had also suffered racist abuse.
“At one time I was having to ring 999 every week,” she said. “Things are better now the wardens are around in the evenings - but the problems are still fairly regular.
“(The vandals) say ‘if you give us food, you won’t have any problems’.”
Another Huthwaite shopkeeper, who did not want to be named, said it was ‘disgusting’ a gang of youths were terrorising local businesses.
“They sit there in the market place drinking and it’s only a matter of time before something starts up,” he said. “They should not be drinking there in the first place - we need a greater police presence so they can’t get away with it.
“The only thing you can do is to try and keep them onside - as soon as you show your anger, things get a lot worse.”
Ashfield North Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Andy Clarke said police were ‘acutely aware’ of the problems in the area.
“We are a 24-hour police service responding to calls on a priority basis,” he said. “I would encourage people to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, especially if they know the offending party, and we will respond appropriately.”