A STALYBRIDGE salon owner admits she was left stunned and has been hit in the pocket after an unknown man threw paint all over her premises.
A five-year-old child was left covered and much of the fixtures and fittings at Beau-Belle were splattered after the assailant, who was wearing a balaclava, burst through the door and carried out the attack in the middle of the day.
Workers there were terrified by the incident, which occurred on Tuesday, April 9 and has left everyone bewildered about why they were picked out.
And salon owner Justine Aitcheson Hirst has been left to pick up the cost by getting her premises on Huddersfield Road in Millbrook back in working order.
She told the Correspondent: “We’ve been there six years and we’ve never ever had an issue.
“We’re normally closed on a Tuesday but on this occasion we were open and basically what happened was that at about 1.30pm-1.35pm, one of my staff members spotted a man walking outside in a balaclava.
“He opened the door and produced a tin of paint out of a bag and threw it all over the salon.
“There was a five-year-old child in one of the chairs while his mum having her nails done and he got covered.
“It’s been a nightmare and we’re still not 100 per cent as the paint was emulsion but the pot was thrown with some force and it just went everywhere.
“The man did not say anything, all we know is that he was probably in his 20s, was very slim and had blue eyes – they were all we could see. He had a grey sweat top on and black work pants.”
Justine, who lives in Stalybridge, received the call no business owner wants: ‘There’s been an incident’.
Police were called and their response has pleased her. Examination of CCTV in the area is thought to have tracked the culprit as coming from the Besom Lane area and he escaped into Stalybridge Country Park.
However, as yet there is no news of an arrest in connection with the incident.
“My staff dialled 999 as they were scared to death,” Justine added.
“It was the initial shock of something like that happening.
“My husband and I just couldn’t believe it when we heard the news.
“The initial thought was that it was about money – they would’ve been disappointed if it was.
“My immediate concern was for the staff and the child there.
“The CCTV footage we have is very clear but the man was wearing a balaclava, so there’s no way of identifying him really.”
As well as trying to track down the perpetrator, Justine has an ever growing list of things to replace after the attack.
What makes it even worse is the salon was only redecorated at Christmas last year but the floor will need work.
“We’re just a small family-run business,” Justine said.
“We’re working hard to make a living and I’ve never had a problem before. There’s no reason to think we would be targeted like this.
“No-one had time to react as it happened so quickly. I didn’t know what to do.”