A community in South London has rallied around an independent retailer after armed robbers targeted his store four times during his first year in charge.
More than 200 customers of Subrayan Selvaraju's store, Simpson's Corner Shop in Thornton Heath, have signed a petition calling for Croydon Council to improve street lighting and install CCTV in the area surrounding the shop.
Subrayan, who became a victim for the fourth time just last week when raiders stole cash and tobacco, told Convenience Store that the situation was "desperate". He has so far lost more than £2,000 in cash and more than £1,000-worth of alcohol and tobacco to robbers armed with guns or knives.
Residents fear that if the council fails to take action, Subrayan will be forced to follow in the footsteps of the previous store owner, who sold up after being shot during a robbery.
The petition calls on the council to do all in its power to provide extra street lighting and CCTV surveillance cameras in the area surrounding the store. It describes the shop as a 'lifeline for many local people' and says families are increasingly fearful of visiting the store. It calls for the petition to be treated as a matter of urgency before another serious incident occurs in the area.
Subrayan said: "It's good that my customers have been so supportive and that they all want me to stay. I really need the council to take action and help me out, though."
Local councillor Pat Clouder presented the petition to the council. She told Convenience Store that the idea had arisen from a 'street surgery' which was held between residents and Community Support Officers (CSOs).
She said police officers and CSOs were doing what they could with extra patrols, but that further help was needed. She added: "The store is very popular and there is real support for it to remain."