A defiant South Tyneside business boss has vowed that he won’t be driven out of town – after a second suspected arson attack on his firm in a matter of weeks.
Krosh Salihi believes he is being deliberately targeted after offenders sparked blazes at the office cabin and a metal storage container at the Bubbles Carwash he runs in Winskell Road, South Shields, in the early hours of Tuesday.
“I feel like someone is trying to drive me out of business.”Krosh Sahili
Police say the fire is believed to have started maliciously and are treating it as arson.
The incident comes hot on the heels of a suspected race-hate arson attack on November 24, when a cabin was torched and vandals daubed racist graffiti on the site suggesting that the business was funding the terrorist organisation ISIS.
Mr Salihi feels he had a ‘lucky escape’ after a haul of expensive equipment stored in the container was unscathed by fire.
He swiftly started a clean-up operation after being greeted by the smell of smoke and petrol.
He says a sign promoting the car wash was also recently damaged in another attack on the car wash, but he has pledged to stand firm and step up security – and catch culprits in the act if they strike again.
The 26-year-old, who only set up the car wash on the side of the Simonside Social Club in November, said; “I feel like someone is trying to drive me out of business.
“I am not going anywhere, I have invested too much to stop. I have to carry on.”
Mr Salihi, who is originally from Iran, does not know why he is being targeted.
He said: “I have been in this country for ten years and have never had any problems with anyone. I am a happy person who just wants to help the community. I have never hurt anyone.
“I am going to increase the amount of CCTV so if someone does something like this again, I will catch them.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said; “The incident happened at around 1am on Tuesday, December 15.
“Inquiries into how the fire was started are ongoing. However, it is believed to be malicious ignition and police are treating the incident as arson.
“No one was injured in the incident.
“Any witnesses should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 388 151215 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”