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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 16:03 GMT
Drunken antics upset shopkeepers
Sign
Mr Grant has attached a sign to the headless model soldier
Traders in Bangor claim they are being badly affected by drunken behaviour and vandalism along the city's High Street.

Peter Grant, owner of Julie's Crafts, said the last straw was when the head of a 4ft (1.21m) toy soldier outside his shop was stolen.

He said the theft was symptomatic of an increasing problem facing retailers.

Mr Grant, who is chairman of Bangor Traders' Association, said the problem seemed to be with people in their 40s and 50s rather than younger people.

He said: "It's an illusion that the problems are caused by students, and this isn't a one-off case."

I lose customers because of things like this
Peter Grant, shop owner

In the past the toy soldier's arms had also been stolen, although they were returned later, he said.

The soldier - a former film prop - has also attracted attention of a different kind.

"I watched from the shop one night when a girl stopped and kissed the soldier then simulated sex with it."

Peter Grant
Peter Grant wants the head of the toy soldier returned

He said his car had also attracted attention with women - one topless - draping themselves over the bonnet to have their photograph taken by their friends.

'Head butted'

Because the shop doorway is slightly set back Mr Grant said he also had to contend with people urinating and being sick.

"I lose customers because of things like this. It takes time for me to clear it up, then it has to dry, it puts customers off."

Lucy Spielberg, manager of the nearby Cancer Research shop, said she too was fed up arriving at work on Monday mornings and having to clear up after weekend drinkers.

"I have to mop the windows because someone has thrown up over them, its disgusting. We've also had our front door smashed when someone heat butted it," she said.

Traders praised the police for their actions, and said they accepted they were not able to be everywhere at the same time.




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