Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Heroic Trader Fights Looters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Heroic Trader Fights Looters

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Cheston, Kiran Randhawa and Miranda Bryant

A BRAVE shopkeeper armed only with a cricket bat told today how he fought off three yobs who attacked his store because they thought police would be too busy with the riots to stop them.

Kiran Bhowan, 50, said he was "still shaking" after standing up to the youths who targeted his shop in Newham.

The thieves raided it yesterday afternoon, thinking police were too thinly stretched by the riots to catch them.

The would-be looters stormed into the small family-run store and kicked their way through the counter in an attempt to steal cigarettes.

But they were forced to flee emptyhanded after Mr Bhowan fought back by swinging a cricket bat at them. Mr Bhowan said today he did not want his heroism "glorified" but felt he had to stand up to the gang even though he was outnumbered.

"It was frightening and I'm still shaking at the moment," he said. "It's nerveracking when you have your family at the back of the shop, although fortunately they weren't here at the time. "Nothing was going through my mind when the gang came in. You've just got to make a decision. It had to be done, as simple as that. You have to take the first one, even if 20 of them come in.

"You just can't let them walk over you.

I have had other incidents like this. Two boys came in before and sprayed a substance at me and tried to steal things but I fought with them and threw things at them and then they ran off." A 17-year-old youth was arrested near the scene after a woman customer in the shop called the police.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared today at Westminster magistrates' court, where he pleaded guilty to violent disorder and trespass with intent to steal.

He was warned that he faces a custodial sentence. The court was told that the youth, from East Ham, attacked the shop with two friends. …

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