Businesses sent terror warning

Winking Willy's
Winking Willy's

Business owners in Scarborough are being sent letters from the police to assess their vulnerability to terrorist attacks.

North Yorkshire Police have said they are writing to the owners of all businesses which have the potential to get crowded.

Dave McGregor, who owns Winking Willy’s and Bamfords fish and chip shops in Sandside, said he was surprised to have received the letter.

“At the end of the day we are a fish and chip shop,” he said.

“Yes we have thousands of people coming and enjoying the Scarborough sea front but why on earth are they wasting money on sending out these letters?

“In this day and age we’ve got people concerned about rising costs and cutbacks.”

The seafront location of Winking Willy’s and Bamfords make them popular locations for holidaymakers, particularly in the busy summer months.

John Senior, a former major with the 16 UK Air Assault Brigade and now chair of the South Bay Traders, said he hoped business owners would be vigilant but warned that they were not trained to assess terrorist threats.

“There is no doubt that there is a threat and I am sure business owners will use their common sense,” he said.

“However security is an extremely specialised skill.”

The police say the policy is in line with advice from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.

Business owners who receive the letter are invited to complete a vulnerability self assessment, which the police say is designed to make businesses safer.

Jim Hughes, manager of the Brunswick Centre, said he had not received a letter, but believed all businesses should take the threat of terrorism seriously, no matter how small their operation.

“The police have run training sessions for two or three years now,” he said.

“We send our staff regularly and I know a lot of other businesses in Scarborough do as well.”

North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “It’s probably true in the sense that his fish and chip shop is not a national target for any terrorist attack but we know all sorts of premises and businesses can be wrapped up in the fall out of terrorist activity.”

He added that it would be “complacent not to accept the fact that we live in a heightened sense of terrorist threat”, and said that the letter was part of a national initiative.