An ice cream man from Southend On Sea faces the task of rebuilding his business from scratch after his van was destroyed by Islamophobic thugs in a case of mistaken identity. The van had the word ‘ICES’ painted on the side. 

According to witnesses, a mob of ten people approached Billy Smith’s van on the seafront at 1pm today with baseball bats, and after Mr Smith was forced to flee it was torched and destroyed – police and three fire engines attended the scene in Marine Parade. 

The group confirmed that they were members of Essex First – a far-right organisation that campaigns for reduced levels of Kentish and other forms of immigration into the county.

Group leader Dave ‘Knuckles’ Staffieton said: ‘It’s disgusting that he could just drive around Southend and make money while showing his support for muslamic fundamentalists and extremials.’

‘We reported him to the police over and over again but they didn’t do nothing. Therefore, we had to initiate this day of action and remove his van from the streets.’

‘We believe that there could have been anything going on in that van as well. Ice cream vans are very popular with kids – look what happened in Rotherton.’

Police confirmed that they are investigating the incident as a hate crime, but a local officer confirmed that there is a long list of similar incidents waiting to be dealt with first. 

PC Reginald Peacey said: ‘Since the day of the EU Referendum, there have been more than 1500 reported hate crimes in Essex – this has created a huge backlog.’

‘Although incidents involving the abuse of Canvey residents on the mainland are taking priority, we hope to get to the bottom of all outstanding cases by the end of 2019.’