A TATTOO artist has blasted the “brainless morons” who launched a firework attack on his shop.
Neil Sims, who works at Inkredible Body Art in Dean Road, Westoe, South Shields, was working on a customer’s tattoo when he heard a loud bang within the shop and smelled gunpowder.
The 38-year-old, from nearby Erskine Road, said it was a “miracle” that no-one was hurt after the letterbox was blown off and stuck into a wall in the shop.
Dad-of-three Mr Sims removed his needle from the customer’s neck just seconds before the blast.
He said: “I was working on a customer’s tattoo, it’s a big piece of work and really expensive.
“I’d just taken the needle out of his neck when I heard a huge bang and could smell gunpowder.
“I went to see what had happened and saw the damage to the door and the letterbox – which had got stuck in the wall opposite.
“It’s a miracle no-one was hurt – seconds earlier and I could have stabbed him in the neck and maybe got his jugular. He could’ve died.
“A very expensive tattoo could also have been ruined.
“I don’t want to think about what could have happened. There is some damage, but the main thing is that everyone is OK.”
The Gazette reported in January how diabetic Mr Sims was saved by two of his children after collapsing in his home from a hypoglycaemia attack.
Kyra, 11, and Neil Jnr, nine, who he has joint custody of, rang 999 and answered a series of medical questions during the call, while the pair drip-fed him sugary cereal to help bring him round before paramedics got there.
He added: “The people that did this are morons, there’s no other word for them. They obviously haven’t got a brain in their heads.
“It was so dangerous. I hope they are caught.
“My 64-year-old mum is a cleaner here, she’s recently had a heart attack and if she’d been here it could have finished her off.”
Police are now looking for witnesses to the attack, which happened at about 7.45pm on Monday.
Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Sutton said: “The consequences of this incident could have been far worse and it is lucky that no-one was injured.
“Playing with fireworks in this way is completely irresponsible, and we will carry out inquiries to find those responsible.
“As we draw nearer to Bonfire Night, we want to reiterate that fireworks and bonfires can be dangerous and can injure and kill people if not handled responsibly.”
Anyone who was in the area and saw what happened or saw anything suspicious is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.