‘We literally had to force them out’ - Workers describe the moment a crowd of 40 people ‘ambushed’ their restaurant in Cromer
PUBLISHED: 15:57 20 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 21 August 2017
Restaurant workers have described the moment a crowd of people entered their restaurant in Cromer and began stealing alcohol.
It came on the night the town was on ‘lockdown’ after widespread reports of anti-social behaviour and low-level disorder.
Jamil Ahmed, a waiter at Masala Twist Indian restaurant, said at around 5.30pm three men entered the restaurant to order drinks and it seemed like nothing out of the ordinary.
“They came in and ordered drinks and said more people would join later on. It all seemed normal - they acted just like any other customers.”
But the men soon became loud and by the time restaurant owner arrived they were disturbing nearby customers.
Owner Nashim Uddin said: “When I got here they were making a lot of noise they were shouting screaming and there were customers nearby so I approached them and asked them to keep the noise down but they weren’t listening.”
Shortly after, Mr Ahmed said a crowd of around 40 people “ambushed the place” and began stealing alcohol and disturbing other customers.
Mr Uddin said that this was the point he decided to call the police. “They just picked up drinks from the fridge and started walking out. We managed to grab a lot of them off them, especially my wife and daughter they grabbed a lot of them, my nephew to.
“We had to literally forced them out of here.”
By the time the police arrived most of them had left and the police helped to escort the remaining people out.
Three hours later at about 8.30pm four more men entered the restaurant. “When they came in I knew exactly who they were,” said Mr Uddin.
“I said to them we’ve got no tables here. They started to talk and talk and then one of them opened the fridge and picked up a bottle of champagne, but this time there was only four of them, we approached them and they left.”
Mr Ahmed said that when the police officer had attended the scene there was seven officers and they were outnumbered.
“Some people are disappointed in the police but they were outnumbered,” he said. “The whole of Norfolk should have a lot more police. When a situation like this occurs they need more police, they need some kind of specialist unit that can deal with this. Yesterday could quite easily have become a riot.”
Police confirmed no arrests were made in connection to the incident.
Superintendent Malcolm Cooke said of the events over the weekend: “We are experienced in policing high season demand, normally seen in the county at this time of year. There will always be incidents where the police can engage with the local community and visitors to ensure a safe environment for all. Yesterday, police identified a slight increase of low-level anti-social behaviour and reports of crimes in the area so have pro-actively adjusted our resourcing levels in order to deal with this.
“We will continue to have a police presence in the area today to provide reassurance to local residents, businesses and holiday makers.
“Local businesses were made aware of a small number of incidents dealt with by officers but no official police direction was given that businesses should close. Any decisions to close would be down to local businesses.
“We acknowledge there have been a number of incidents in Cromer over the weekend which will understandably cause concern. However, I can assure residents these incidents have been dealt with appropriately and are of a nature routinely dealt with in towns such as Cromer on a busy August weekend.
“Should you have any ongoing concerns about incidents you’ve experienced, please contact us on 101.”