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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Carlisle restaurant forced out of business by thugs - claim

A systematic hate campaign has forced an award-winning Indian restaurant to shut.

Urvesh Bhagudia photo
Urvesh Bhagudia

Missiles smashed the windows of the Spice Enterprise in Briar Bank, Belah, Carlisle, on three occasions between September and January.

The home of owner Urvesh Bhagudia off Greystone Road was also targeted – a brick came through the living-room window within minutes of a similar incident at the restaurant.

He does not believe the attacks were racially motivated. Rather, a concerted attempt to force him out of business.

He closed the restaurant for good on March 5.

Mr Bhagudia, 40, said: “I have never felt so sickened in all my life.

“The Spice Enterprise was my livelihood and my passion but we have had to close because the restaurant was repeatedly targeted.

“It was a clear message to stop us doing business. The last time it happened in January we were full of customers and the glass went everywhere. We had to take away the food and re-cook the meals.

“It doesn’t matter how the extraordinary the food is, people don’t want that on a night out.”

He added: “It affected us badly. Customers were asking, ‘Is it safe to park my car outside?’. We survived the recession but we couldn’t survive this.”

Police are investigating.

A force spokeswoman said: “Police did receive reports of damage to property. To try and prevent further incidents, officers carried out extra patrols to deter those responsible from carrying out further attacks.

“Police would appeal to any member of the public who have any knowledge of these incidents to contact us.”

Mr Bhagudia also believes his business was harmed by reports that developer Maris Properties had applied for planning consent to knock down the Spice Enterprise and build 16 homes.

He said: “I had three years left on the lease so nothing could have happened until then.

“But this is Carlisle. People talk. Rumours have gone around and it has done us a lot of damage.”

The Spice Enterprise won plaudits for its adventurous cuisine and was named as one of the ‘Top 10 UK incredible curry houses’ by the web site TripAdvisor.

Mr Bhagudia opened the Spice Enterprise in August 2007 in what had been the Enterprise pub.

He then launched a Malaysian restaurant, The Outpost, in Botchergate in 2010 but that closed last year.

Fixtures and fittings from the Spice Enterprise will be auctioned by Hopes of Wigton on Thursday.

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