Customers flee as grocers row in street

Customers fled from a kosher store after angry grocers clashed over the price of fruit and vegetables.

Staff from two shops brought traffic to a standstill as the row spilled out on to the pavement in Hendon, North West London.

The feud began after Veg Express opened a store three doors along from Brent Cross Food & Wine in Brent Street.

Veg Express manager Yossi Yeshaiav claims he was threatened during the incident, which was broken up by police.

Bosses at Brent Cross Food & Wine, a general store selling Turkish products and halal meat, denied Mr Yeshaiav's allegation. They said that relations had deteriorated after they claimed to have seen Mr Yeshaiav and a business partner in their shop taking a note of fruit and vegetable prices.

The shops, at the heart of Hendon's Jewish community, are surrounded by kosher restaurants and food stores.

Mr Yeshaiav, 30, said: "There were two customers in the shop and the man came in and threatened me. He was leaning over the desk while I was serving an old lady and he was shouting. My customers ran away.

"Later, he came back and was goading us. He said he would burn our shop down and that soon it would not exist. I couldn't believe it.

"My partner and I went back to his shop and asked why he was threatening us. He tried to kick me. All the Jewish business owners came round and said ‘don't worry', but I was in shock."

The owner of Brent Cross Food & Wine, who gave his name as Idi, said: "There was nothing like he described. Everybody witnessed it. There are arguments like that every day. It was nothing. Mr Yeshaiav comes round and annoys us and checks the prices on our door. He just said to me ‘do not come into my shop again'. The police were laughing because there was nothing going on. Dealing with a new shop does not matter, the customers will decide."

A Barnet Police spokesman confirmed that officers had attended the incident but said no crime had been committed and no further action would be taken.

    Last updated: 6:07pm, November 6 2008