It’s business as usual for Mac Singh, owner of the newsagents in Innsworth Drive, Castle Vale, just three hours after his shop was hit by two petrol bombs.
He and his staff have swept up the mess, rearranged the shelves and the sweets, and are cheerfully serving plenty of well-wishing customers.
But they suffered a terrifying ordeal earlier today that could have ended in tragedy.
“At around 1pm today, two youths aged about 18 entered the shop,” says Mr Singh. “They asked for the price of some cigarettes. My wife was serving behind the counter. She thought the two looked a bit suspicious. One youth was white, one was black. They left the shop without buying anything, and then minutes later a glass bottle full of petrol was thrown into the shop through the door. A second bottle hit the door and bounced back. The petrol ignited and set the shop alight.
“We called the fire brigade. It seemed ages before they got here, but it was probably around 10-15 minutes. We used fire extinguishers, and eventually the fire was put out. Some of the shop has been damaged and so has some of the stock. But thankfully, no one has been hurt.
“If they had done this when the shop was locked up and closed, I could understand it better. But they knew that people were inside the shop, and it could have been murder.”
There is a CCTV camera positioned above the shop, but Mr Singh believes it was facing away from the shop at the time of the attack.
“We’ve had lots of support from the local community,” says Mr Singh, who took over the shop around eight months ago.
“Local people have popped their head in to check that we’re okay and that no one has been hurt. We’re really grateful for all the support we’ve been getting since the attack.”