Decades of arson attacks but Barking ice cream factory’s defiant owners won’t give up

Mizanur and his wife Lutfum at their ice cream business Star Ice Cream, in Barking.

Mizanur and his wife Lutfum at their ice cream business Star Ice Cream, in Barking. - Credit: Archant

The owners of an ice cream business who have had 15 delivery vans ­destroyed in over a decade of arson attacks say they are not giving up, although ­police have yet to make an arrest.

Mizanur and his wife Lutfum at their ice cream business Star Ice Cream, in Barking.

Mizanur and his wife Lutfum at their ice cream business Star Ice Cream, in Barking. - Credit: Archant

The “nightmare” campaign, which also included an attempted attack on their family car and has scared away business partners, has cost ­Mizanur Rahman, 41, and wife Lutfum Khatum, 37, of Star Ice Cream, Barking, over £75,000.

Rival

The couple have seen the refrigerated ­delivery vehicles destroyed by fire since they opened in 2001. The first attack was in 2003 and the last took place on Friday.

The couple suspect a rival business behind the ­attacks.


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Mizanur said: “Someone wants to stop me. They want to stop my business.

“I came to this country from Bangladesh in 1997, this is the only job I have known.

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“If I go anywhere else I will have to start from scratch again. Maybe I will have to stop but I don’t want to. It was my dream to get my own business. I don’t want to stop for some silly things.

“My feeling is the police don’t care. I’m suffering and they don’t care.”

His wife added: “It’s a nightmare. I can’t sleep at night.

“I always have this fear that one day they are going to kill somebody and then the police will decide to take it seriously.”

She said each vehicle was worth more than £10,000 and was “literally burned to the ground”, costing about £5,000 in tax and raised insurance premiums every time.

In 2009 three vehicles were destroyed in one attack, she claimed, and added that they had seen a man with a petrol can attempt to set fire to their family car outside their Bastable Avenue home in 2010.

Mizanur is the last remaining of five founding partners of the company which delivers to local restaurants and is based in Thames Road.

Each has been scared away by the attacks which have ­often taken place outside ­employees homes where ­the vans are parked overnight.

Mizanur said he has asked his four drivers – who make up a third of the workforce – to park a bus ride away from their homes in an attempt to evade the arsonists.

Police have yet to respond to our request for a comment.

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