"no-one should be subjected to abuse"
A vehicle drove through the window of an Indian restaurant in Essex in an alleged hate crime spree.
Essex Police is investigating a series of incidents between November 22 and 28, 2021, relating to the Curry Cottage restaurant on the High Street in Burnham-on-Crouch.
The incidents reported to the police include a vehicle being driven through the building’s window, staff members being racially abused over the phone and prank calls with hoax food orders.
Police are currently investigating to determine if the incidents are linked.
They are also looking at whether they were motivated by hatred or not.
Superintendent Richard Melton, Essex Police’s Hate Crime lead, said:
“Investigations into whether these incidents are both linked and hate-related are ongoing and if they are, let me be clear – no-one should be subjected to abuse or targeted because of their race or religion.
“Hate crime in all its forms is a priority for Essex Police and will not be tolerated.
“We work shoulder to shoulder with our other Essex partners to take a hard line against hatred committed anywhere across the county, and we work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to make sure that hate crime offenders are brought to justice.
“We recognise the problems that hatred causes and how it can escalate if it goes unchecked by those that witness it.
“What starts as low-level anti-social behaviour can grow into hate crimes and that is especially damaging for close-knit rural communities”.
Officers are encouraging those with information about the incidents at Curry Cottage to report them online at www.essex.police.uk or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7 am-11 pm.
An Essex Police spokesman added:
“Please be aware that comments made on closed social media groups are not accessible by those investigating the crime, so please make contact with the police directly with any information.”
You can also call us on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
In a similar case, the owner of a US-based Indian restaurant spoke about the years of threatening, racist phone calls he has received.
Vishal Patel, of the Curry Up Indian Grill in Ohio, revealed that he gets around five to 10 calls per month from private or blocked numbers.
He does not know the callers but he believes the same three people are calling and hanging up, placing bogus orders and making disturbing comments.
Mr Patel said:
“They’ve said that they’re going to come and shoot up the place.”
“And they’re going to come and shoot me in the head. (They’ve said), ‘You better be careful. You never know, your place could burn down in the middle of the night’.”
He added that sometimes, the comments include racial slurs.
“They said, ‘curry head,’ ‘towel head,’ (things) like, ‘You need to go back to your country. Nobody likes Indians’.”