Sunderland chef armed himself with screwdriver after being victim of ‘racist and homophobic abuse’

A Sunderland chef fed up with being the victim of ‘racist and homophobic abuse’ confronted his antagonists while armed with a screwdriver.

By Gareth Crickmer
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 9:14 am

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Syed Ahmed, 25, stepped outside the Park Lane eatery after objecting following months of verbal harassment from a gang of young yobs, a court heard.

But passers-by warned police that Ahmed, of nearby Churchill Street, was armed – and they had to draw their protective Tasers to calm matters on Friday, April 8.

Magistrates in South Tyneside handed him a community order and unpaid work as punishment – and warned him jail was an option should he reoffend.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

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Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester said: “Officers were alerted to a man threatening people with a screwdriver.

“There was a group of males, and the defendant was one of them. He admitted to having a screwdriver.

“He resisted, but with the Taser, he was compliant. He admitted having the screwdriver in case of any problems.”

Mrs Winchester added that Ahmed told police he was in possession of the tool because he had been racially abused.

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He pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing and returned to court for sentencing.

Magistrates heard he had one previous conviction from 2017 for a public order offence.

Defence solicitor, also Syed Ahmed, said: “He finds himself in a very, very difficult position.

“He was in fact the victim of racist and homophobic abuse. He was working at the shop as a chef.

“Over the past 12 months he and his staff have been racially abused by these young people, up to three times a week.

“They were causing problems to customers and staff. The night before, the shop was targeted by them, they caused damage to a window.

“He accepts that he was naïve and stupid in going out of the shop to face them.

“He had no intention of using the screwdriver, frustration got the better of him. He expresses great remorse, he’s very sorry.”

Magistrates warned Ahmed about his future behaviour – and sentenced him to an 18-month community order, with 20 rehabilitation days.

He must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.