Trader who defied yobs opens new store

Nandakumar Vayanaperumal
Nandakumar Vayanaperumal

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A SHOPKEEPER who was the victim of racist abuse and attacks is opening a new store in Portsmouth.

Nanda Vayanaperumal has bounced back after suffering seven incidents in a two-month period last year when thugs targeted his Danny Mart shop, in Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove.

Now the father-of-one has been granted permission for a new premises in what used to be the Alexandra pub, in Wingfield Street, Portsmouth.

He is in the process of carrying out a £250,000 refit of the building and is aiming to open his second Danny Mart in the new year.

But Mr Vayanaperumal said he is not being complacent and knows it might take time for some people to accept his store into their community.

‘I will run the shop and see what people think about it,’ he said. ‘I had a bad experience in Paulsgrove and starting a new business like this is always a challenge.

‘It has calmed down for now but it is always a fine line. Work is still going on at the moment and I hope to open in the first week of January or some time after Christmas.’

In the month after his shop opened in Paulsgrove, Mr Vayanaperumal endured racist abuse, paint being repeatedly thrown at his business, racist graffiti being left on the store’s shutters and having its windows smashed.

In one incident, a thug threw a can of paint through the shop door while it was open to customers.

But despite fearing the repercussions, Nanda contacted the police and the community rallied round.

And the city council’s licensing sub-committee praised his application as one of the best they have seen, even including tills which work out someone’s age from their date of birth to avoid human errors.

In its decision the committee said: ‘We grant the licence as requested and are very impressed with the applicant and the steps he has taken.’

Hampshire Constabulary’s licensing officer, PC Keith Hall, initially made a representation raising concerns that ‘the sale of alcohol from the premises is likely to lead to young people hanging around the shop, attempting to purchase alcohol directly or by proxy’.

But after seeing the measures Mr Vayanaperumal intended to put in place, including CCTV and a Challenge 25 policy, he withdrew the objection.