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Swastika race thugs target Burnley shop
RACIST thugs targeted an elderly woman by spraying a swastika on her shop and torching a car.
But 77-year-old widow Sakina Bili Ali, who runs Warsi Foodstore off-licence, in Leyland Road, Burnley, said she would not be forced out of her home or shop.
Shocked neighbours have expressed their disgust at the attack and describe the victim as 'an absolutely lovely neighbour'.
Mrs Ali's son's car, which was parked outside the shop, was torched at 4.45am on Saturday.
A swastika was sprayed on the shop wall in de-icer, along with the initials J.B.
Police believe the person responsible may have unsuccessfully tried to set the symbol alight.
Mrs Ali, who has worked at the shop for 30 years and lives in the upstairs flat, said: “I’m upset by what has happened.
“But I can forget about the spray now it has vanished. I’m not scared by it.
"I have been here a long time and nothing has ever happened before.
“I don’t understand why it has happened. It is a close neighbourhood here and everyone that comes in is friendly and I’ve had no trouble with anyone.
“But If they come back then maybe it is just my time. I’m not scared of death.”
She said that she was asleep when the incident took place and had not heard anything until police and fire arrived.
Mrs Ali said: "My daughter came banging on the door saying the car had been set on fire.
“I’ve asked all the neighbours but nobody seems to have heard or seen anything out of the ordinary.”
The rear doors of the car have been badly burned in the attack and police said there was extensive damage to the vehicle's interior.
Neighbours said they had been left disgusted.
Mother-of-four, Natalie King who lives across from the shop, moved from Manchester only a year ago to be nearer to the countryside.
She said that the incident has made her consider moving house.
Natalie said: “She is quiet but lovely and everyone get on with her.
“It has really upset my children and made them frightened.
“I thought that we were moving to a family area but there is just trouble here.
"After this weekend I think we will be looking to move house.”
Neighbour Kurt Stephens said: “I come to the shop every day.
"She is an absolutely lovely neighbour. I hope they catch whoever did this.”
Colin Smith, who lives opposite to the shop, said he had found the family 'really nice and helpful' in his short time living in the area.
He said: "I’m surprised that it seems to be a racist attack.
"I know it isn’t the best area of Burnley but people seem to get on quite well.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident and urging anyone that may know anything to get in touch.
Detective Sergeant Chris Scott from Burnley CID said: "This is a frightening incident and obviously upsetting for the family.
“We are exploring every avenue but at the moment there seems to be a racist motive."
Call police on 01282 425001 with information.