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Sam Deeson may contemplate “an exit strategy” if Canterbury's night-time lawlessness continues

By Chris Pragnell

A leading city restaurateur has told KentOnline he may contemplate “an exit strategy” if Canterbury descends further into night-time lawlessness.

Sam Deeson says he is sick and tired of thugs and drunks running riot in the early hours.

Burglars targeted one of his businesses again at the weekend – smashing their way in and helping themselves to the takings.

Sam Deeson at Pork and Co in Sun Street. Picture: Chris Davey
Sam Deeson at Pork and Co in Sun Street. Picture: Chris Davey

His hugely successful Deeson’s restaurant – one of just four city eateries to be listed in the Michelin Guide – has been broken into on three separate occasions.

And on Sunday he discovered the burglary at his neighbouring Pork & Co takeaway. “First I find puke down the front door of Deeson’s,” he said. “Then I head up to Pork & Co and see that the door’s kicked in and the weekend’s takings are gone.

“What gets me is this is the centre of town. People have no fear of being caught.

“Look on a weekend morning. It’s like a bomb site. Smashed windows, glass everywhere. Vomit. Canterbury’s turning into a completely nasty place.”

Mr Deeson, 40, runs three businesses in the Buttermarket area but says he has now ruled out any further projects in the city.

“There’s no law and order. People are running riot,” he said. “I see the same kids come by the Buttermarket every day to pick fights with foreign tourists.

"Nothing’s done. I saw a group of men in their 20s beating up a homeless man in Palace Street. That was around 5pm. This is not a nice place any more. I’m sick and tired.”

Canterbury district commander Ch Insp Mark Arnold
Canterbury district commander Ch Insp Mark Arnold

He added: “People like me start to think ‘do I really want to hang around?’ I’m getting fed up paying over £50,000 in business rates for a town that’s looking like crap. It’s got a bad vibe.

“I don’t want to open another business here now. You start feeling like you should look for an exit strategy. If it gets worse, then we’ll look at that.”

Mr Deeson is keen not to point the finger of blame at the police. “They’re stretched and they don’t have the resources to police beyond the high street,” he said.

“Let’s face it, they’re good for nothing except a crime number for the insurance claim. And that’s not their fault.”

Deeson's in Canterbury
Deeson's in Canterbury

District commander Ch Insp Mark Arnold said: “Like any city of its size Canterbury has a vibrant night-time economy, but I refute the claim that people are ‘running riot’. This is just not the case.

“We focus our resources on disrupting the minority who cause the majority of issues, and we concentrate our patrols on the key times when the demand is highest.”

Anyone with information about the offence at Pork & Co is asked to call police on
01843 222289 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 55511, quoting reference number ZY/031964/15.

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