Restaurant owner attacked by group of violent youths who have taken UK village 'hostage'

A West Sussex, England restaurant owner was left bloodied after he was attacked by a group of violent youths who wanted to use his restrooms but were told they were not public restrooms. Daily Mail reports that the small village of Barnham has been "held hostage" by this "group of unruly youths" and that locals have been scared to leave their houses.

The outlet also reports that local businesses have had to hire private security due to several recent incidents of violence and shoplifting. It says that the area has been "gripped by a growing crimewave."

The attack at the family-owned Passage to India restaurant, which took place on May 19, was filmed by bystanders.

Owner Muhammed Islam said he was attacked by the youths after he told them the restrooms in the restaurant were for paying customers only and not open to the public. Per Daily Mail, he said, "I've lived here for 36 years and we've had the restaurant for 35 years. We've never had anything like this happen before. The first girl came in and said she was using the toilet and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

"She was saying to herself, 'I'm 16 and you can't touch me.' When she came back later with a group, I tried to explain to them they are not public toilets. That's when I was punched."

Islam was reportedly kicked and punched repeatedly in the head and shoulders and had a visibly bloody eye afterward. He also appeared to have severe bruising on his chest in pictures and footage taken by Eddie Mitchell for Daily Mail.

Islam also said that the attackers tried to break all of the windows to his restaurant. "The politicians need to take this seriously. I'm aware of what's been going on in Barnham and I'm hopeful, but this is a serious issue. It's reached a limit in Barnham now. We see a lot more activity from the police now, but if the politicians treated this as a serious matter then there is a way to find a solution," he said.

Just before the attack, a public meeting was held in the village hall, spurred by another incident of an attack at the village's train station over the Easter holidays. Per Daily Mail, "locals said they felt they have become hostages to the feral youths."

Local site UK News In Pictures reports that 2 girls aged 14 and 15 were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and released on bail pending further inquiries.

Local Chief Inspector Will Keating-Jones said: “This is an unacceptable and unprovoked attack. Those who go to work should not have to tolerate this behaviour and we are taking this report extremely seriously. An investigation is underway and we will hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions.

“We are aware of a post on social media showing the incident. I would urge users to not speculate or share it at this time and report any evidence to Sussex Police.”

Image: Title: passage to india