Sunderland restaurants fear they are being targeted in dirty tricks campaign

Papadoms owner Sanjeev Sanghera and the damaged window.
Papadoms owner Sanjeev Sanghera and the damaged window.
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Restaurant bosses fear they are being targeted by people trying to bring down their new ventures.

Papadoms in High Street West and The Funky Indian in Tavistock Place, both in Sunderland city centre, say they are being subjected to a dirty tricks campaign, with hoax bookings, suspect TripAdvisor reviews and disruption at the venues.

The Funky Indian restaurant owner Kam Chera with the safe from the restaurant in the yard, in Tavistock Place, Sunderland, after thieves broke in.

The Funky Indian restaurant owner Kam Chera with the safe from the restaurant in the yard, in Tavistock Place, Sunderland, after thieves broke in.

In the latest incident, Papadoms staff turned up yesterday morning to find a window smashed out, just hours after a visitor hurled abuse at one of the team a short time before it closed the previous night.

It comes in the wake of a break-in at The Funky Indian, where up to £3,000 of damage was caused and booze and cash taken, when it was broken into on Friday night, less than a week after an earlier burglary.

Police are investigating the attacks.

Sanjeev Sanghera, who launched Papadoms three months ago, said: “There have been a couple of unsavoury incidents in the last few weeks and we have got to make sure it stops.

We hope to make Sunderland proud and our whole idea is to take Indian food forward.

Sanjeev Sanghera

“We have been in the restaurant business for 30 years now.

“We are just concerned that we are being targeted by people who might not want the business to grow.

“But we can’t take action back, it has been reported to the police.”

Kam Chera, who launched The Funky Indian tapas restaurant in September last year and also runs El Amor in Roker, became pals when Sanjeev set up in Wearside.

Sanjeev added: “We’re good friends and we’re working together to make Indian food better for the region, and we’ve spoken about Sunderland becoming the curry capital of Britain.

“We hope to make Sunderland proud and our whole idea is to take Indian food forward.”

On Saturday morning workers at The Funky Indian found thieves had broken in through the rear of the building and had snatched spirits, Prosecco, the float from the till and cash and documents from the safe, which had been dragged into the yard and forced open.

Staff lockers were also searched.

The business had to close while a clear-up operation was carried out, with other restaurants coming to their aid to take on bookings and offer help.

Kam says he has been comforted by the response from the business community and customers, but remains concerned after the attack on Papadoms.

He said: “We just have a feeling about this.

“I could be a coincidence there’s been two break-ins and then Papadoms has been damaged in the same week. It’s been very upsetting.

“But the support we have had has been fantastic.

“It was quite hard after what happened, but we’ve had some nice feedback from our customers when they heard what happened.”

Anyone with information about the damage caused to the restaurants can call Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.