Kent

Shop owner 'forced out' by racist attacks in Medway

A Turkish-born Kent shop owner has said he is being forced to move following a three-year campaign of racial abuse.

Yusuf Boztepe, who is selling his store in Weedswood, Walderslade, said his shop and home had been attacked and he no longer felt safe in the area.

The incidents culminated in Mark Marchant being jailed for setting light to a homemade explosive on Thursday.

Kent Police praised Mr Boztepe for reporting the attacks and said they had dealt with the offenders.

'We always worry'

Mr Boztepe said: "Since we've been here they have turned our lives to hell.

"We not enjoy nothing, we always worry to walk in the street. We can't act like normal people."

Image caption Yusuf Boztepe has decided to put his convenience shop on the market

His shop appeared to become a focal point for a group whose anti-social behaviour affected a number of local residents.

He said he was targeted with racial abuse and attacks on his property after he refused to accept their actions and reported them to the police.

Det Insp Ann Lisseman said: "Mr Boztepe has been a person that's stood up quite rightly and said I'm not going to accept that behaviour and he shouldn't do.

"He's reported it to us and we won't tolerate any kind of behaviour at all - anti-social, racial whatever the motive - and that's why we've taken a strong line and dealt with it."

Mark Marchant, of Pimpernel Way, Chatham, was jailed for five years at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday.

He had denied causing an explosion likely to endanger life but was convicted following a trial.

The court was told he filled an airbed with an accelerant and then placed it on a fence and set it alight in Yarrow Road in July 2009 following a long running confrontation with Mr Boztepe.

Following the sentencing Kent Police said it was a "desperate attempt to cause harm and intimidate local residents".

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