A HUDDERSFIELD shopkeeper today made an impassioned plea: Save us from the robbers, thieves, burglars and thugs.
Fed-up newsagent Dinesh Joshi, 45, has suffered a catalogue of crime over the last two years and claims Kirklees Council has done nothing to help prevent it.
Mr Joshi's business is on Swan Lane in Lockwood and he has today thrown down a challenge to council officials to help make the area safer - including setting up CCTV cameras.
Over the last two years he has been beaten up, burgled and come-face-to-face with a knife-wielding robber and thieves who tried to snatch his till.
And in the latest attack last Saturday night, his 70-year-old mother was shoved over when she tried to save him from a gang of robbers.
He was shutting up the shop at 10.10pm when the gang attacked him from behind.
They hit him several times as they searched his pockets for money.
His mother tried to tackle one of the attackers, but she was knocked to the ground.
Mr Joshi suffered facial injuries and still has a black eye.
He said: "I pay a fortune in business rates.
"If I didn't pay them, I'd have enough to pay for a security guard full-time in the shop. I've rented this shop from Kirklees for 18 years and yet nothing has been done to improve my security. I just don't feel safe anymore."
He added: "This country needs to change to protect innocent, law-abiding people. That means a change in attitude and policies in local and national Government.
"I've been a victim many times, but so too have many of my customers."
The catalogue of crime at Mr Joshi's shop includes:
* January 2001: Burglars stole stock worth many thousands of pounds.
* March 2001: Confronted by an armed robber who threatened him with a knife in the shop. Mr Joshi refused to hand anything over, fought back and the robber fled empty-handed.
* July 2001: Four or five youths tried to grab the till, but Mr Joshi and a customer fought back and thieves stole nothing.
* December 2001: Mr Joshi was attacked by a gang of teenagers after helping a customer who had also been badly beaten by them.
* January 2002: Man convicted of theft after he was caught shoplifting.
* July 19, 2003: Mr Joshi and his mother attacked by three balaclava-clad robbers as they shut the shop up for the night.
Kirklees Community Safety Unit manager Simon Massey said: "We have a small retailers' fund which helps to improve security for small businesses.
"We will certainly go to Mr Joshi, talk about his crime concerns and see if there is anything we can do to help him."