A business owner has hit out at police after he was saddled with a £230 bill for boarding up a broken window following a late-night break in.
Anil Ozdemir, owner of Tony’s Chippy, in Rochdale, is furious cops called out a contractor rather than contacting him after thieves struck last month.
The dad-of-four says his shop, in Oldham Road, has been burgled more than a dozen times, with the latest incident taking place during the early hours of Friday, January 14.
Anil, who lives in nearby Chadderton, says he had previously come to secure the shop ‘straight away’ after being alerted by police.
But on this occasion, it was only when he went to work the following day that he realised a crime had been committed – and his broken window had been ‘boarded up’ by a third party.
And the 43-year-old was stunned to receive an invoice for the work a few weeks later, charging him £234 for the work.
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Anil believes it is ‘disgusting’ and ‘unfair’ to charge small local businesses for work they neither requested or gave permission for.
“We turned up in the morning, nobody had contacted us from the police, and the window had been broken,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“A couple of weeks later we received an invoice from the security company. I phoned them up and said I never requested this, what’s the bill for?”
Despite his protests, Anil says the firm told him it would take further action to recover the money if he did not pay up.
“I don’t know what to do, I find it really unfair to be honest,” he said.
“ I’m going to pay it because you don’t want to get into trouble, but I think something unfair is being done.”
With an excess of £750, it was not worth Anil claiming against his insurance policy.
He had no more luck with GMP, who confirmed it had called out the contractor in line with its standard procedure.
“They said there was nothing they could do, they didn’t want to know about it,” Anil added.
“I explained they had my contact number, I don’t know why they didn’t phone me. Every single time they have phoned me, but this time they have not phoned me for it.”
To add insult to injury, he says that the value of the stolen items – 10 staff uniforms, valued at around £150 – is less than the repair bill.
“My window repair was £30. I feel like GMP damaged me more than the robbery!” Anil said.
“My question is ‘why did they not contact me in the middle of the night?”
“If they had rang me I would have said ‘no way’ at that price. Who would pay that much for a chipboard?”
A number of other businesses on Oldham Road suffered vandalism on the same night, including Stephen J Holt Opticians and Fishers Cleaning Services.
Emma King, who runs nearby Ashleigh Lola Flowers, says her shop had a lucky escape – the brickwork apparently being dented by something that narrowly missed the window.
But she is also worried about the costs persistent vandalism could have on businesses like her own.
“I just find it quite shocking that the police made no attempt to contact Anil and a couple of weeks later he gets a bill for £200.
“We could be targeted any and every night of the week – are we going to be charged £200 every time?”
Ms King acknowledged that police had limited resources, but questioned why work was being commissioned without business owners’ permission.
She said: “If a window on this street was done every night of the week, there’s a company making an awful lot of money out of misery.
“Surely they would have to get consent to start working on people’s buildings?
“Anyone one of us could be facing bills like that.”
GMP has been contacted for comment.