ASB in McDonald’s: Staff left feeling 'scared' by youths carrying tasers, being racist and releasing crickets into Burnley town centre store, says manager

McDonald’s staff say they are being harassed by youths carrying tasers, being racist and releasing crickets into the store.

Employees at the town centre branch in St James’ Street regularly feel “scared” to go to work, according to their manager.

Disorderly youths have been intimidating customers and staff since spring, reveals Rihana Sadiq, forcing the store to curb their opening hours for under 18s and man the door in the evenings.

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Commenting on the level of harassment, Rihana said: “It’s been quite a lot. We’ve had drinks thrown at managers, crickets released in the restaurant, had kids spit at the door, had the fire alarm pressed, a lot of kids stealing cups and racist behaviour towards staff.

McDonald's in Burnley Town Centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“We have a lot of Muslim staff and kids are being really racist towards them. We’ve had our outside bins set on fire a couple of times, and youths even threatened a staff member’s 10-year-old son. They’ve threatened customers and thrown stuff at them.

“They have even had tasers.”

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Commenting on the impact of the antisocial behaviour, she said: “We’ve had staff not wanting to leave the store because they don’t feel safe going outside. Sometimes the youths crowd round the store, and the staff don’t want to leave. Sometimes staff don’t even want to go in because of how scared they are. The kids make the staff feel scared and horrible about themselves.”

Police patrol the town centre nightly to help keep children out of trouble.

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But Rihana said: “We have PCSOs but they are not always around.

“All the kids who were causing trouble are now banned but that causes more kick-offs. Some of them still manage to get in and cause more problems in the toilets.

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“We’ve only been letting them in if they’re under 18 one at a time for take-away only for the past couple of months. They don’t seem to like that and cause more problems.

“The start of summer was when it got really bad. We get them the most on Fridays because they don’t have a bedtime. They seem to be out every day at like seven or eight o’clock. But on the weekends, it’s all hours because they have no time to be in.”

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More than 10 youngsters aged between around 12 to 17-years-old have also been banned from Tesco Extra since the summer.

The Finsley Gate store has been forced to bring in the restrictions due to several thefts of alcohol by children hanging around in groups of up to 15 in the evenings.

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Hashim Kiani, a security guard, said: “They’re verbally abusive.

“I tell them, ‘You’re barred’,’ then they’ll bash the fire door in and turn the fire alarm on. They have been banned for stealing alcohol.

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“It usually starts after 6pm but they sometimes wait until about 10 or 11pm.

“They used to be robbing sweets but now they’ve moved on to alcohol. I started [the job] in August but it’s probably been going on for longer than that.

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“There are more than 10 [youngsters] who have been banned. If there’s a gang of them and only one of them steals, then we ban all of them.”