SHOPKEEPER WAS RACISM REPORTER

LANGLEY Mill is set to come under the national spotlight in a television documentary which aims to expose racism.

Channel 4 s Sleepers claims to show the racial intimidation suffered by an Asian undercover reporter who opened a shop in the village.

Reporter Saira Khan opened Khan s Convenience Store at 203 Station Road Langley Mill last June.

The premises were leased by Channel 4 for two years and were fitted with recording equipment.

During the three months Miss Khan was at the premises the programme says she was subjected to verbal racial abuse, her shop was vandalised and she was warned the National Front would deal with her if she sought police help.

Programme makers confirmed they did not go to the police as they may have blown their cover.

Miss Khan reported many of the people in Langley Mill were friendly but a minority had made her stay very unpleasant because of her skin colour.

Community Safety Officer for Heanor PC Booth stressed victims of such incidents should contact the police immediately.

He said: "Unfortunately there are racial problems in most communities but these incidents are caused by a minority.

"We don t dispute Miss Khan suffered attacks but if she d come to us it s quite possible subsequent attacks wouldn t have happened.

"Following reports of a broken window members of the police went to see her and offered her the support of the police but she never got in touch.

"Miss Khan was also offered help from members of EKAWAZ - a support group for minorities - which she also didn t take up.

"Our message is if Miss Khan had taken up the help which was offered to her we could have challenged the problem together.

"With such help her stay in Langley Mill could have been much pleasanter."

The programme follows a damning article by Gordon Burn which appeared in the Observer last month about racism in Langley Mill, Heanor and Eastwood which also featured Miss Khan.

Anyone who experiences racial abuse should contact PC Booth on 01773 571862 or Amber Valley Community Safety Officer PC Keith Beswick on 01773 570100.

Sleepers will be aired on Channel 4 at 9pm tonight (Thursday).