A businessman fled for his life in the middle of the night after Turkish gangsters took over his restaurant.

Norman Mark, 59, of Portslade, left with just his wallet and passport after being told he would be killed if he tried to take back control of his business.

He had spent £45,000 renovating the eaterie in the pretty village of Bitez on the Bodrum peninsula in the west of Turkey and planned to retire there.

Mr Mark, who is single, told The Argus: "This whole episode has given me nightmares. I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm so stressed by it all.

" I thought they might kill me and I find it hard to trust people now because I'm paranoid that everyone has an agenda and is plotting against me.

"I'm starting to get my life back together but this is not how I wanted to spend my later years."

Mr Marks bought a £300,000 house in Bitez as his permanent home and thought it would be an ideal place to spend his retirement - before his dream turned into a nightmare.

When the restaurant was set up in spring last year, Mr Mark returned to his social care training business, Norman Mark Training in Portslade.

When he arrived back at his Turkish restaurant, he found the locks changed and guards refusing him entry.

A group of local men had taken over the business and told him if he tried to get it back they would kill him.

Villagers warned him to be careful and not go out at night or he would be murdered.

Fearing the worst and after weeks of failed negotiations through corrupt solicitors who fleeced him for several thousand pounds, Mr Mark fled last April, he said.

He left his home in the dead of night, leaving his possessions behind him.

He has tried to get his business back through the Turkish authorities but says he has not been given any help.

Now Hove MP Celia Barlow is lobbying the Government to take up his case.

Ms Barlow said: "This is an awful situation for Mr Mark who seems to have been abandoned to his fate by the UK Consulate.

"Following this development, I hope that Mr Mark will now receive the assistance he needs to gain justice in this matter."

Once wealthy Mr Mark has been left renting a bedsit in Portslade after losing thousands of pounds through blackmail and is struggling to sell his Turkish home to release much-needed funds.

During the year it took to set up The Burger Bistro, Mr Mark said he faced continual blackmail and corruption from the Turkish authorities.

So-called "presents" of around £200 a time were required to get even the most basic of jobs done.

But he said it was not just the Turkish workmen who demanded cash - lawyers, police and local government officials did the same.

He said: "It was just the way things were done there. Everyone expected a present or they wouldn't do their job."

Mr Mark estimates he spent around £10,000 on bribes - but they turned out to be the least of his problems.

He has been fighting to get justice but after complaining to the Turkish Embassy, Mr Mark said he started receiving fines from the Turkish authorities because the restaurant, which was being run in his name, was operating without a till or proper receipts.

The Turkish authorities are refusing to acknowledge his case, claiming it is a personal matter and he daren't set foot in the country as he has been told there is a warrant out for his arrest under Turkish sedition laws.