Rival drug gangs’ Ilford town centre ‘turf war’ leaves workers living in fear

Costa Coffee, Cranbrook Road.

Costa Coffee, Cranbrook Road. - Credit: Archant

Rival drug gangs operating from outside a town centre coffee shop have left staff “worried for their lives”.

Police admit Ilford town centre has become the site of a “turf war” between two gangs – of Somali and Afghan origin – affecting business in the area and terrifying workers.

The situation has become so bad that Costa Coffee, Cranbrook Road, Ilford, is employing a security guard to protect the shop.

One worker said: “I am worried for my life. We have a security guard and CCTV but once I close the shop I am by myself.”

Other businesses have also spoken to the Recorder about the “frightening” situation, with one worker – too afraid to be named – saying he was living in a “permanent state of fear”.

He said he had reported suspicious activity to police on several occasions, but had not seen any change.

Chamber of Commerce chairman Geoff Hill said the news was a “step backwards” for the town centre.

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Read the full report in today’s Ilford Recorder.