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London couple face abuse from town locals

PUBLISHED: 07:21 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:35 26 October 2019

Paul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Paul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Life in a seaside town has turned into a nightmare for a man who says he faces regular verbal abuse for being a Londoner.

Paul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPaul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Paul Foskett, 56, and his wife Clare, moved to Wells-next-the-Sea in February.

Originally from near Heathrow, Mr Foskett said the discrimination he faced when locals realised he was new to Wells, was "no better than racism".

He said: "I've been called a 'smelly Londoner', a 'dirty Hammer' [West Ham supporter] and more. It's unbelievable. I feel trapped in my own home now."

Mr Foskett said one incident happened when he was in a shop speaking to a woman in the queue.

Paul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPaul and Clare Foskett from London, now living in Wells. They have been shocked by the disrespect shown to them by local people. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: "She must have realised we were from London and she said there are too many Londoners moving here at the moment and it means local families can't live here. Another time I said sorry to someone trying to get past because I thought I was in the way, and the lady in front of me said 'there are too many foreigners here'.

"And we've had people blocking our way at the bus stop, stopping us from getting on before anyone else could.

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"There have been so many things like this. Every time we walk into town we seem to have problems. It has just been a nightmare."

Before moving to Wells, Mr Foskett lived in Cromer for more than three years, where he said there were no problems and he had a good rapport with the people.

But he suffers from fainting spells, also called syncope, and was forced to ask his housing provider, Victory, for a new, single-storey home after he fell and broke his ribs.

Mr Foskett said he also suffered from PTSD because he was a victim of an attempted stabbing 10 years ago.

He called on people to be more welcoming. He said Wells was "too close-knit". "I've been told I'll never be accepted here," he said.

"We now go to King's Lynn or Cromer most of the time to sit and have a cup of tea just to get out of the way."

But Wells mayor Mike Gates said the vast majority of people in Wells were friendly and the town was a welcoming place.

Mr Gates said: "There is a bit of tension with regards to incommers and second-home owners - not in the mainstream but certainly on social media. There is an undercurrent.

"But the vast majority of people are welcoming."

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