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'I buy local stuff so it won't be a problem' - Village shopkeeper doesn't fear no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 15:47 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:23 05 September 2019

Ali Dent outside his shop in Hilgay, near Downham Market,  which he believes will not be affected by food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  Picture: Chris Bishop

Ali Dent outside his shop in Hilgay, near Downham Market, which he believes will not be affected by food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Some say food shortages are inevitable in the event of a no-deal Brexit - but one village shopkeeper isn't worried.

Calm waters - the River Wissey at Hilgay, where people are unlikely to experience food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to village shopkeeper Ali Dent. Picture: Chris BishopCalm waters - the River Wissey at Hilgay, where people are unlikely to experience food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to village shopkeeper Ali Dent. Picture: Chris Bishop

Ali Dent, who runs the butcher's and general stores at Hilgay, near Downham Market, says his community won't go short of sausages or home-made pies if we crash out of the EU on October 31 without a trade agreement.

Mr Dent MBE, who organises charity events such as the annual Hilgay Raft race and charity duck races, insists he has his waterfowl in a row.

"People get carried away with Brexit, I can't see it being any different," said the trader, who voted leave what now seems ages ago.

"It's been dragged on and on and could have been sorted a long time ago.

Mr Dent says he has his ducks in a row ready for Brexit. Picture: Matthew Usher.Mr Dent says he has his ducks in a row ready for Brexit. Picture: Matthew Usher.

"I buy local stuff from Norfolk and Suffolk, which is all grown locally so it won't be a problem.

"I can't see it being much of an issue, the farmers should be better off.

"We'll be OK, our pork and beef comes from a slaughter house in Norwich, which is delivered fresh, so not to worry.

"We have local farms, so for people like us it is not a problem."

The village sign of Hilgay in west Norfolk features the Manby Mortar. Picture: Dr Andrew TullettThe village sign of Hilgay in west Norfolk features the Manby Mortar. Picture: Dr Andrew Tullett

The shop, which has been run by Mr Dent for about 35 years, is one of the oldest in the area.

With customers coming from as far as King's Lynn and Ely, Mr Dent said he was not worried about his trade.

"Hopefully everything will be OK," he said. "I try and stay positive. You never know what is going to happen, especially when politicians don't always tell the truth.

"Boris seems more likely to do something than the other ones.

"Business has gone down a bit over the last few years, older customers die off and a lot of the youngsters go to the supermarkets as it's more convenient for them, which is a shame."

The British Retail Consortium fears delays at Channel ports in the event of no-deal and import tariffs could cause shortages of some fresh produce and price rises.

And farmers in some sectors fear tariffs to export to the EU could make their businesses unviable.

But the villagers of Hilgay and its surrounds can rest assured that their local butcher will carry on making sausages and pies as normal after October 31.

"A sausage a day keeps the doctor away," he said. "That's my motto."

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