'This shop is going down tonight' - arsonists' alleged warning before throwing firework into shop
PUBLISHED: 07:47 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:02 07 November 2018
Fireworks have been lit and thrown inside a shop twice in one week - the latest attacks in an ongoing campaign of anti-social behaviour.
At around 5.45pm on Sunday, November 4, police received reports someone had thrown a firework into the open door of Whitton Convenience Store, on The Green, Lowestoft.
The firework exploded inside and scorched the floor.
Julia Penson, who has worked at the store for two years, said it was the second time it had happened within a week.
She said: “I worked the morning of Halloween and a customer came in and told me the kids had been saying ‘this shop is going down tonight’.
“They did what they said they would do and chucked fireworks in here.”
Ms Penson added: “There was no warning with this one but I’m not surprised at all.”
The shop worker said large groups of youngsters, “aged between eight and 18”, regularly gather outside the shop and cause trouble.
She said: “It’s a massive problem. The place is absolutely trashed. They’re fighting, drug-taking, shoplifting.
“It seems to be a competition as to who can get the most negative behaviour.
“It’s been going on for a long time but it’s got really bad. It is at the point where you get so used to it; you let it go over your head.”
Paula Baker lives nearby and said the anti-social behaviour was the worst it had ever been.
She said: “I’ve been living here all my life but it’s getting worse. I’ve never known it like this.”
Ms Penson said the issues have become so bad residents have left the area to get away from the trouble.
She added: “There have been people who have moved and left their homes because of it. People won’t come round here because of the kids.
“I’m sad for the kids because it’s not their fault; it’s the way they have been dragged up.
“It’s really frustrating because they can be good but then they let themselves down.
“We have had nine-year-olds out here smoking weed and they know exactly what they are doing - there is no innocence around here at all.”
Anyone with information about the November 4 incident should contact Suffolk Police on 101, quoting reference number 37/64044/18.