A SHOPKEEPER who survived a brutal knife attack is today officially closing the doors to his store.

Imtiaz Ul Haq, 60, has been running the local shop in Queensferry, formerly knows as Costcutter, for about five years and has since been subject to racial abuse, thefts and physical attacks.

The Leader:

Imtiaz Ul Haq was beaten and stabbed in the throat and head in vicious attack in 2016

Mr Haq was the victim of a vicious attack in 2016 in which he was beaten, stabbed in the throat and head and ended up on the floor where he was further attacked, and was forced to close his store for the few months while he recovered.

He said that even when he was recovering, he had to pay high rates and was offered no support from Flintshire Council.

Video: In August, Imtiaz Ul Haq spoke of his despair at a sequence of break-ins at his store

He added: "We can’t keep going on like this. While I was in hospital I couldn’t open the store for a few months and yet they kept on charging me. I feel like this wasn’t fair, it wasn’t at all justified.

"It’s such a shame, the local community needs a convenient store. At the end of the day we have been telling people, we can’t continue like this. Maybe I wasn’t meant for this, it should be better.

The Leader:

The card Imtiaz Ul Haq received wishing him good luck for the future

"I was in a bad place and they should’ve said they could help but it wasn’t an issue for them, we weren’t doing any business in that period so what they've done wasn’t justified."

Mr Haq says he has to pay over £1,000 a month and appealed for his rates to be lowered and for extra support, but no one has replied to his requests.

He added: "I would like to say a massive thanks to all the community and my customers for all the support, help and love they have given me to serve them, it could’ve been better if I was given a helping hand from the council as well.

The Leader:

"I have been through a lot, but I hope everything goes well and I can start up a new business elsewhere which is easier to run.

"It’s not right, I think any layman can say this isn’t justified."

The 60-year-old said he applied for a scheme in which he could be eligible for some funding and support, but although they had acknowledged he had applied, he said he did not hear back from them again.

Mr Haq will hand over the keys today and said he was particularly moved when a two-year-old girl handed him a card wishing him the best for the future, adding: “Life goes on and we have to leave.”

Gareth Owens, chief officer governance said: "Local Authorities in Wales administer Business Rates on behalf of Welsh Government and the circumstances where we can act by waiving or reducing the level of business rates are extremely limited.

"The council also operate a Hardship Rate Relief scheme which is available to all businesses and we have previously signposted Mr Haq towards submitting an application under this rate reduction scheme. To date, the council has not received an application from Mr Haq."