Three vans are destroyed and stock damaged in late-night blaze at Lidget Green bazaar (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Owner of Tradex bazaar says someone is out to put him out of business
The boss of an indoor market operating illegally in Bradford believes it was targeted by arsonists early yesterday in a bid to put him out of business.
Khalid Saeed, who runs Tradex Bazaar at the former Shires Bathroom site in Beckside Road, Lidget Green , said: “It seems somebody out there does not want us to operate.”
Three vans parked at the back of the warehouse were found to be ablaze at about 1am and Mr Saeed said he believed a petrol bomb had been thrown through a smashed window into the front reception area. He estimated the trader who owned the vehicles would have lost thousands of pounds in stock and the vans.
The fire was the second in a month at the site.
One stall-holder’s stock of cloth had been “significantly” smoke damaged, Mr Saeed said.
He added: “We are providing people with an opportunity to set up business in a difficult economic climate. Closing it down would affect 300 to 400 people, in a deprived area – it doesn’t make sense.”
He said there were “people out there” that clearly do not want the business to carry on operating.
“Is it only going to be a matter of time before the whole building burns down?” he asked.
“This is a form of intimidation to our traders and ourselves.”
The market has been embroiled in controversy after it was found to be operating without the correct planning permission and a markets licence.
Concerns have also been raised by councillors and other traders about the market taking trade away from businesses.
Bradford Council ordered it to stop trading last month but Mr Saeed says the notices do not apply to his business which he says is not a market open to the public. He said he now planned to step up security and intended to open again tomorrow.
Ward Councillor Nazam Azam (Lab, City) said: “Whoever is responsible, and I don’t know who would be, whatever their motives, they need to be held accountable. It is an absolutely despicable act and I completely condemn this.”
Police and the fire service are investigating the blaze, which was reported at about 1.20am and is suspected as being arson.
A firefighter suffered bruising to his foot after he was hit by a missile which was thrown during the incident, a spokesman for the service said. The matter has also been reported to police.
Firefighters confirmed they attended another blaze at the premises on Sunday, July 8, but the cause was unknown.
Mr Saeed said he believed the earlier fire was an attempt at “sabotage”.
A spokesman for the Council yesterday said it was considering taking further legal action.