‘Language barrier’ blamed for slow police response to Ribbleton boutique break-in

Posted on - 15th July, 2021 - 8:44am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News, Ribbleton
Serious damage was done to the shop. Pic: Ellena Ali

Ickle Ishy’s boutique on Ribbleton Ave in Preston was burgled in the early hours of Monday 12 July.


Shop owner Ellena Ali contacted Blog Preston about the break in.

She said: “I want to convey how traumatic it was for the family who live above the shop. They are really shaken up. They rang the police at 3.51am when they heard the noise of the door being kicked in and when no-one turned up and the noise continued they rang the police again.

“Still no one turned up. They were petrified that the robbers were going to go upstairs and attack them. My shop was left open until the next morning until we got there.

“We then rang the police who told us they would send someone out and forward details on to the crime scene investigator.

“She came to check for prints. She was lovely and helpful but still no police arrived to take a statement from me or the tenants or anyone to actually come and assess the damage. We were then told there was a ‘language barrier’ with the tenants upstairs being Hungarian so no officers would be coming to the shop until an interpreter had spoken to them.

“This then changed to them saying they won’t be coming at all due to ‘a lack of resources’ Unsatisfied by this my husband then visited the police station to log a complaint and find out our crime reference number which we still hadn’t been given, only to be told again that an officer will get back to us.

“Then they told us that because the property was commercial it isn’t procedure for them to come out at all.

“My husband argued this as the property is commercial and residential and stated to the officer ‘when the resident called 999 and the police said they didn’t understand her, there was a language barrier. If that’s the case, why did you not send a patrol car out to check on her or call her back?’ the officer then replied “I know what you mean, I can only apologise.’

“I only received my crime reference number today after my husband continually chased it up. If the police would have turned up when the tenants rang 999 in the first place they would have more than likely stopped my shop robbery taking place and three cars being broken into in the next street around the same time.

“The upstairs tenants are traumatised, the low life criminals have gotten away with it and me and my husband have had zero support from the police.”

Read more: The Silk Route restaurant to open as usual despite being targeted by vandals

Some of the damage done to the shop. Pic: Ellena Ali

Insp Azz Khan, of the Preston Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We were initially called about this incident at around 4am on Monday (July 12), from somebody reporting that a break-in was in progress at a neighbouring shop.

“Unfortunately due to a language barrier we were unaware that a burglary was in progress and officers weren’t deployed as they should have, and normally would have been.

“We later received a second call about the burglary, from the owner of the shop, however by that time we were dealing with a high volume of calls including a firearm discharge in Preston.

“However, a CSI team was deployed to collect evidence from the scene, and a dedicated officer will be in touch with the victim in due course to progress enquiries. I will also visit the initial caller to address any welfare issues they may have.

“We accept that our response to this incident wasn’t up to our usual standard, and we offer our sincere apologies for this.”

Read more: Mere ‘the Russian Lidl’ to open first supermarket in Preston

If you have any information about this burglary, contact police on 101 with crime reference number 04/113543/21.

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