ARSONISTS have struck at a former Indian restaurant in a “racially motivated” attack.
An investigation is underway following a fire at the MAA Tandoori Takeaway on High Street, Connah’s Quay.
Police are treating the blaze as being racially motivated because ‘EDL’ signs – alluding to the far-right group English Defence League – were spray-painted on the front and back of the property.
The owner, Mr E Rahmam, who lives in Oldham, said he was in “shock” over the attack.
He bought the building four months ago and has been having renovation work completed.
He said he had planned to rent the building out once complete but that the blaze would set back those plans.
“There is just no need for it,” he said.
“I wanted to come straight away when I found out but I couldn’t because they wouldn’t let me into the building.”
Mr Rahmam made the 100-mile round trip from Oldham yesterday to assess the damage.
He said the inside of the property was not that bad and he was unsure how much it would leave him out of pocket.
The attack has also been met with outrage by Connah’s Quay councillor Andrew Dunbobbin.
“I condemn this extreme, radical behaviour,” he said.
“It is not welcomed in Connah's Quay and won’t be tolerated.
“I would ask anybody in the local community who has any knowledge regarding this incident to come forward, in confidence, to help find the culprits.”
The blaze happened at about 10.50pm on Monday. Two fire crews went to tackle the flames.
The fire service said there was minimal fire damage to the ground floor but smoke damage throughout the first floor of the property.
The building had been undergoing refurbishment, according to residents, and had not long had a new roof on the building.
Police were yesterday doing door-to-door inquiries as a joint fire service and police investigation was launched.
Insp Ceri Hawe said it was an “isolated incident” and “does not reflect the attitude of the local community”.
Colin Everett, Flintshire Council’s chief executive, added: “We fully agree with North Wales Police that this is an isolated incident.
“The public should not be over concerned by any implications of a random act of criminal damage of this type.
“Deeside has a reputation for being a tolerant community and acts like this are out of character.”
One resident, who did not want to be named, said he watched the fire take hold.
“I had just finished watching the football and I heard a big bang,” he said.
“I went out the back and I could see the fire. The flames were big enough.
“The fire brigade were here quick enough though.”
No one was injured.
The attack comes in the same week that North Wales Police joined other forces across the UK pledging support for the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign, which promotes community cohesion along with encouraging people to stand together and celebrate differences.
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