'No racial tensions here' - Sheffield community hits out over 'unwelcome to asylum seekers ' claim
Residents in a Sheffield suburb claim there are 'no racial tensions' in their community after a court heard two asylum seekers had been made to feel unwelcome by them.
The two teenage boys - one of which was orphaned in the Afghanistan - were ordered to complete 40 hours' unpaid community work for attacking a man they claim racially abused them. The youths, then aged, 13 and 14, admitted grievous bodily harm in an attack which left their victim with a fractured jaw in Lowedges in 2015. But Sheffield Crown Court heard the area has 'low cultural diversity' and the pair were 'made to feel unwelcome by a number of residents'. The court was told a resident told one of the boys he must not look at his house when they walked past. In sentencing the teenagers at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday, Recorder David Dixon accepted they had initially acted in self defence but then took it too far. But he added: "You both arrived in this country hoping for a better life, and based on the information received, you were not given the welcome to Sheffield you should have."After the case, a number of Lowedges residents have now spoken out to deny there are racial tensions in the community. Helen Sear, aged 27, of Gervase Drive, said: "I have moved here from Greenhill and I don't hear of any racial tensions. I go out running a lot and walking the dog. I've never seen any trouble between different ethnic groups. It's is a predominantly white area, but everyone mixes well I think." Nigel Lawson, aged 58, and his son Daniel, aged 18, agreed. Nigel said: "There are tough lads in this area, but they are of all different ethnic backgrounds. I don't think it's a case of different races going against each other." Daniel added: "I've never seen any trouble. It's pretty quiet." Another woman, who has lived in Lowedges for 25 years but did not want to be named, said: "There has been a rise in immigration in the last five years or so, but I've not seen a rise in tensions. "You see immigrant families walking their kids to school alongside white families. What happened in the court case is awful but I think it is a one off." Ryan Oxley, who has lived in Lowedges for a number of years, said: "The social deprivation is clear to see, yet I have seen zero proof of racial violence nor any violence to be honest." Ilyas Khan believes there is "racism all over the country but the majority of the community are united and friendly." Kate Harber stressed that it isn't fair to "judge the actions of a minority on the whole area of where it happened."She added: "Every city, town and village in every part of the world has some sort of crime and violence."Katy Henshaw, a Lowedges resident for 24 years, praised the "family feel" of the community and added: "Never have I felt unsafe."