FED up shop owner Nigel West has accused police of turning a blind eye to villains and yobs who are targeting his Aldershot premises.
He has made his feelings known with a message on a boarded up window at his shop, The Ped Shed, in the High Street.
It reads: "Broken and boarded up due to inadequate policing in Aldershot". The shop is still open. Mr West,44, reckons his blast has struck a chord with other shop owners in the area.
"Several have called in and said they've had a similar experience when their shops have been attacked," he said.
"They agree with me that the police seem more interested in operating as uniformed tax collectors by targeting motorists."
He decided to speak out after his shop suffered two ram raids and a smashed window since opening just over two months ago.
The first ram raid happened on a Saturday night in July when the thieves tried unsuccessfully to smash their way into the shop and steal the motorised go-peds which are on display. "Some of my neighbours gave police details of the gang and their car," said Mr West. "But when I phoned the police later they had no record of the incident."
The villains returned a few hours later and shattered the glass panelled door, but fled empty-handed when the alarm went off.
Desperate to protect his premises, he asked for a police crime reduction officer to call round to give him some expert advice.
"That was almost two months ago and I still haven't heard anything," said an exasperated Mr West.
The third incident, when yobs smashed his display window late at night, was the final straw. He said: "A policeman arrived, and when I asked him if he could stay with my wife while I got some boards, he said ‘no' because he was the only officer on duty."
The officer suspected that the window had been shattered by a group of 10 yobs who had been warned about their behaviour in the town earlier in the evening. But as far as Mr West knows, no-one has been arrested for smashing the window, or for the ram raids. Prior to arriving in Aldershot, he spent just over seven years in America. "I feel more intimidated in this town than I did walking around at night in Los Angeles and New York," he said.
"The policing here seems a shambles. I haven't bothered to lodge an official complaint because I've lost faith in them."
A comment from Hampshire Police was awaited as the Star went to press on Wednesday. It will now be printed next week.