A shop owner who says she suffers constant racial abuse has told the Packet "I'm trying to be strong but it's very hard for me,".

Over the weekend, Haidi Ocampo, 49 , who is originally from the Philippines closed up The Corner Shop on Berkely Vale after she suffered "awful racist abuse" leaving her too upset to continue when a man buying tobacco was said to have insulted her.

Haidi said: "I am a strong woman but this is difficult for me."

Haidi, who has CCTV of the incident which the Packet has seen, was in her shop on her own when a man she recognised but who hadn't been in the shop for a while, came in to buy tobacco and started accusing her of saying he was stealing things, swearing at her and becoming racially abusive.

"He started talking very angry words but I didn't say anything," she said. "He said I don't belong in this country, that he was born in this country saying 'I am from England'. He said I said that he was stealing but I am not saying anything to him that he is stealing here. So I don't really understand why he is upset with me. His words really upset me. He frightened me.

"This is not only one time though, this is many times. It hurts. It makes me feel that I am unimportant."

Five months ago the Packet reported on a series of similar incidents of racist abuse involving Haidi over the Christmas period. Full drinks bottles were thrown at her shop window while she and customers were inside, and children banged their fists on her windows as well as saying racist slurs.

Falmouth Packet:

She said first it was the youngsters but now it was the adults.

"My question to myself is: 'What have I done in this town that's a bad thing, why are they treating me like this?'."

She said she decided to close up the shop on Saturday after the incident because she couldn't stop crying and was feeling very down. I couldn't carry on because I was serving and I was crying and people were saying to me 'Oh, why are you crying?'. So I decided to close the shop for one day.

"I love the shop it's my life, I go home and I am in the shop. I love so much Falmouth. I didn't grow up here but I love it so much, the older local people they are nice, that's why I am trying my best but it is making me cry. So much stress."

She says the trauma from it all means that she is always worried somebody is going to come in and treat her in the way the man treated her.

She rang 101 following the incident but was told because there was no harm to her the police did not need to come.

"I am worrying about it because I am on my own because I don't want my partner in the shop because of Covid as he is 79 years old. I want to keep him safe because I don't want him to get the virus, but what is my protection if someone is attacking me?

"I want to say to people 'Don't treat me like this, because I am not a stupid woman. I have a heart. It is too much, I know I am a strong woman. I have been running this shop for five years, three of those on my own."

Following the incident a GoFundMe page was set up by Nicki Sweeney and Nicola Congdon who were so horrified by what had happened they wanted to raised money to buy a gift or two for her which has already raised over £400.


GoFundMe page launched after shopkeeper racially abused by customer

Devon and Cornwall Police have been contacted for a comment.