WATCH: Eastney shop owner’s personal war with troublesome youngsters escalates

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A SHOP owner says he has ‘had enough’ after his personal war with a group of petty youngsters escalated.

Stuart Toms, who runs the family-owned Spar store in Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney was involved in a series of confrontations with a group of children last weekend who have been ‘terrorising’ his store.

12/7/2017 (LC)

Stuart Toms, co-owner of the Spar shop in Fort Cumberland Road, Portsmouth, which has recently been hit by an escalation in petty youth thefts from kids in the area over the last six months. 

Pictured is: (l-r) Stuart Toms (40) and his dad Howard Toms (74).

Picture: Sarah Standing (170886-5098) PPP-170714-163918001

12/7/2017 (LC) Stuart Toms, co-owner of the Spar shop in Fort Cumberland Road, Portsmouth, which has recently been hit by an escalation in petty youth thefts from kids in the area over the last six months. Pictured is: (l-r) Stuart Toms (40) and his dad Howard Toms (74). Picture: Sarah Standing (170886-5098) PPP-170714-163918001

The incidents on July 8 & 9 saw the 40-year-old forced to chase down two of them via car on the Saturday after they stole from the store.

Following this, a bigger group then smashed the shop’s front door the next day, leading to his 64-year-old mother to be injured after a coffee machine fell on her.

Mr Toms said: ‘Something really needs to be done.

‘We are dealing with a group of them on a near-daily basis now. They terrorise the store, abuse us and steal on a regular basis.

We have had problems before but this particular group is the worst we have ever faced

Stuart Toms, owner of Spar in Fort Cumberland Road

‘We have had problems before but this particular group is the worst we have ever faced.’

He said he was forced to chase the youngsters on foot last Saturday when they stole a packet of crisps and drink from the store before fleeing on bikes, leading Mr Toms to drive after them.

When one of them left their bike to run on foot, Mr Toms put the bike in his car, only returning it when the police asked him to.

The second incident on the Sunday saw a large group try to access the store all at once – breaking the store’s policy of two children at a time.

It led to Mr Toms attempting to keep them out by closing the front door which he said was then barricaded open by the youngsters, leading to the coffee machine to fall on his mother, Linda.

The father-of-three added: ‘We are just fed up of it. I just want to live my life but nearly every day we are worrying about them stealing and abusing us. Police need to do something to stop it.’

He said that he had complained to the force about the lack of police action.

A spokeswoman for the force said: ‘We are investigating two thefts at the Spar convenience store on Saturday 8 and Monday, July 10 and a criminal damage on July 9 for which officers have collected CCTV and carried out an area search.

‘We are dealing with a complaint from the aggrieved.’