Village shop staff dealing with abuse daily when asking customers to wear masks

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Abigail Bracken

A shop owner from Kent says he's been racially abused for asking customers to wear a face mask. 

Police have had to be called twice in just over a week to Bridgeway Stores in Bridge near Canterbury.

CCTV footage shows a customer being asked to wear a mask, where the customer then swore at the shop owner, before hitting him with a shopping basket. 

Ranjit Dhaliwal said verbal abuse happens multiple times a day.

He said: "It's occurring around four, five, six times a day on some occasions."

"We do get people from outside the village coming into the area, and they think that because they don't have to wear masks in their shops or wherever, they think it's the same rule everywhere else."

More footage shows men accepting a mask to wear. But then Mr Dhaliwal says he confronted one of them for telling his staff member to 'go back to her own country'.

Staff have faced racial abuse when asking customers to wear a face mask.

Kent Police said it was investigating two reports relating to incidents at a shop.

A spokesperson said: "The first incident happened at around 4.15pm on Saturday 24 July 2021, when a man reportedly shouted abuse at a worker at the store.

"In a separate incident shortly before 3pm on Monday 26 July, it was reported that a man threw a basket at a shop worker and shouted racist abuse."

Investigations into both incidents are ongoing and anyone with any information can call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/133008/21 for the first incident, or 46/133350/21 for the second incident.

People can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.