Norman Lamb’s letter to Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey regarding unrest in Cromer over the weekend
The Press Association
“I write following a discussion I have had with Nashim Uddin who is the owner of the Masala Twist Indian restaurant in Cromer.
I visited Cromer on Sunday, August 20 to find out what had happened with the concerns about unrest in the town over the weekend.
Mr Uddin and his staff and family described to me what happened on Saturday night when initially four men came into the restaurant and were very noisy and rowdy and then refused to order any food.
In the end 30 to 40 people were in the restaurant behaving in a very intimidating way, helping themselves to alcohol from the display fridge in the restaurant and intimidating and frightening other customers in the restaurant. Mr Uddin and his family and staff were very scared by what was happening and by the intimidating behaviour.
The waiter in the restaurant told me that when he ushered them out the door, he could see a police car in the car park within sight of the restaurant with two officers in it. There was another police car and a police van all in the car park. They all had clear sight of the restaurant. They appeared to have witnessed the arrival of all these people and even when they saw the staff of the restaurant trying to get these people out of the restaurant they did not intervene.
The waiter, who is the nephew of Mr Uddin, called to the police and identified the leading individual who had caused most of the trouble. The police still did not intervene and made no attempt to arrest any of the individuals who had stolen large quantities of alcohol from the restaurant and had caused substantial unrest and public disorder. Mr Uddin spoke to police officers after the first incident and the police officers told him that they were surprised that they had invited them into the restaurant. They had not invited them in. They had no option. They forced themselves into the restaurant against the wishes of the owner and his family.
At 11pm two officers returned to advise the restaurant to close, but by this stage it was closing time in any event.
“I would very much like to meet with you or one of your senior officers to discuss the events of this weekend in Cromer.
“I understand the importance of sensitivity with regards to minority groups but every individual is subject to the law. No one must be beyond or above the law and it appears from what I have heard that business owners and local people felt intimidated and felt that they were not sufficiently supported by the police.
I hope very much that we can meet to discuss this without too much delay. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely, The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Member of Parliament for North Norfolk