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VIDEO: Ice-cream 'war' in Blackburn
A COLD war has broken out between two ice cream men in Blackburn.
Children and parents watched in horror as one seller, Zeheer Ramzan, smashed the window of the other’s van with a tyre lever.
A second seller, Mohammed Mulla, then apparently rammed his van into the rear of the other.
The clash happened as the sellers refused to allow each other to scoop away their business in Palatine Road.
Residents captured the frosty scenes between Mr Whippy of Blackburn, and Mr Yummy of Tubzee in Halifax on video.
Witnesses who watched the apparent turf war said they were shocked at the street sellers ‘unprofessional’ antics.
Ahmed Chaka, 16, of Palatine Road, Blackburn, said: “My little sister came out to grab an ice cream and that's when it all just kicked off.
“One of the ice cream men was saying come and buy it from me, ‘I’ll sell it cheaper’. That’s when the trouble started.
“They were swearing and everything. My little sister was upset. To be honest it all seemed very silly.”
Fellow neighbour John Tighe, 55, said: “It all came down to a turf war.
“One was offering four, two scoop cones with a flake for £2 and the other said he would do them all for 10p cheaper.
“I couldn’t believe it when Mr Yummy jumped out of his van and smashed Mr Whippy’s window, you just don’t expect that around here.
“The language they were using was very poor, especially as their chimes were going off and children were watching. If my children were still young I would definitely think twice about letting them go to the ice cream man alone now.”
Father-of-four Mobeen Quizam filmed the incident on his mobile phone and then posted it to YouTube.
By yesterday evening more than 1,200 people had viewed the video.
Mr Quizam said: “I was just chilling out at home when I heard this commotion outside. When I looked two ice cream men were screaming at each other in the street.
“I didn’t think it was very professional as they were swearing loudly at each other. Then one smashed a van window with a metal bar.”
Police have now launched an investigation after receiving complaints from both ice cream sellers.
A police spokesman said: “We have been made aware of the incident in Palatine Road, Blackburn last Saturday at 6pm.
“We have now launched an investigation into the incident and an officer will be contacting both parties.”
The driver of the Blackburn based Mr Whippy van, Mr Mulla, 42, of Langdon Brook Square, Audley yesterday confirmed he had been involved in the incident.
He said he felt his home grown business was being ‘forced out of town’ by the Halifax based company.
Mr Mulla, a father-of-three, said: “I have been having problems with this company for months. I have been established in Blackburn for 12 years and I am really popular with my customers.
“Over the last few months, this Mr Yummy, has been following me around, chiming outside the allotted times and muscling in on my patch.
“I don’t sell powdered ice cream. We sell nothing but diary ice cream.
“I have complained to the council and the police. Hopefully now people will listen.”
But Father-of-four Mr Ramzan, 32, from Halifax defended his actions.
He said: “I come all the way from Halifax just to make a living. I have tried to be reasonable and come up with a compromise but Mr Whippy is having none of it.
“This has been going on for months. Wherever I go in Blackburn he follows me. Surely the town is big enough for us both.
“On Saturday, I just felt threatened and at the end of my tether. I didn’t mean to smash his window I just tapped it too hard.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council issues licenses to all street vendors in the borough. They have now launched their own investigation into the incident.
A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said: “We licence street traders. Anyone who sells goods from a stall or a vehicle in the borough needs to apply for a licence.
“We have several powers if we feel the terms of the licence has been breached including suspending it, revoking it or refusing to renew it.
“We aware of this incident between two licence traders and are investigating.”
Fellow Blackburn ice cream seller Nadeem Naim said: “This is really unprofessional and it doesn’t look good for the rest of us. Blackburn with Darwen Council should think more carefully about giving street selling licenses to out of town business men. We have enough people in Blackburn trying to make a living.”