A REFUGEE family who fled a war-torn Middle Eastern country were subjected to racist abuse by a Barrow teenager.

The torrent of abuse, which also included rocks being thrown at windows and children’s bikes being damaged, led to the teenager being evicted from his flat on Ormsgill.

Dave Wood, organiser of the Furness Refugee Support group, said the rest of the community had welcomed the family with open arms - but he was disheartened by the actions of the teenager.

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“This family has come over to this country through the Government’s resettlement scheme after fleeing the devastating conditions of the Middle East,” he said.

“The teenager who lived in one of the other flats has been a general pest to the whole neighbourhood, but he has also targeted the family by damaging their bikes and shouting racially abusive language.

“The children who are aged between four and nine became even more scared when he started throwing rocks at their window.

“Fortunately, he has since been evicted and the police have run restorative justice sessions to give the teenager a chance to apologise to the family.

“This by far doesn’t outweigh how supportive and welcoming the whole community has been.

“The children are now fluent in English and the parents are also keen to start working.

“You have to remember that these families have had their homes bombed on multiple occasions, even digging their children from out of the rubble.

“We are fortunate that the rest of the community has shown and continues to show this family their support.”

Barrow Mayor Cllr Bill McEwan said: “Families come thinking that their lives are going to be better, but when you hear of things like this it is absolutely atrocious.

“This should not be happening.

“It is almost as if we are chasing them back to the very wars and conflicts that they are so desperately trying to escape.

“They have lived through horrendous conditions and people don’t realise the impact this has on the mental wellbeing of a family.

“Fortunately, this does not reflect the rest of the community and I would hope that this is an isolated incident.”

When asked about the abuse police confirmed they attended an incident at the family’s home in July, but Mr Wood has stated that this has been an ongoing issue since February.

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A spokesperson for the police said: “Police and partners have worked to support all those involved and this incident has been resolved with no further action being taken. No arrests were made.”

Sergeant Sara Seath said: “If you or someone you know has been a victim of hate crime please contact police on 101.

“Always dial 999 in an emergency. We take any reports of hate crime incidents extremely seriously and all reports are appropriately investigated.

“You can also report hate crime online at www.cumbria.police.uk or by visiting one of the Hate Incident Reporting Centres located throughout the county.”