A SHOP owner has told how his windows have been smashed twice after an employee was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl inside the store.

Mubarak Besada, 52, was found guilty of kissing and groping the teen, who has learning difficulties, inside Poundzone in Boundary Road, Hove, in October last year.

The store owner has been criticised online for not sacking him until November this year, despite Besada being seen on CCTV kissing the girl and admitting one count of sexual assault at his first hearing in July. He denied two other sex assault charges.

Speaking to The Argus, Poundzone owner Nashaat Abdelmassih told how his windows have been smashed since the sexual assault came to light.

He said: “The windows at our shop have been broken twice.

“People keep writing on Facebook I supported him, this is wrong. Mr Besada was innocent until he was proven guilty. He was sacked as soon as the police rang me and told me he was found guilty. When I came to the shop I asked him to leave.

“The people in the area know he is not working there any more. All I can say to you is I am shocked and disappointed the same as everybody else.

“To make the public more safe now I added six more CCTV cameras. So I am doing my best to help the community feel safe coming to my shop.”

During the trial Mr Abdelmassih provided Besada with a character reference describing him “as the best employee”.

Residents posted their dismay online on local Facebook group Buzz on Boundary and called for a boycott of the store.

Besada was found guilty of all three counts of sexual assault at Brighton Magistrates Court this month, but was spared jail.

He was given a suspended 26-week sentence and a community order.

City councillor Robert Nemeth, for Wish Ward, said he understood people’s feelings.

He said: “Residents are rightly upset by the leniency of the sentence and the situation generally.

“What happened is disgusting and is in no way reflective of Boundary Road which goes from strength to strength as a pleasant place to shop and meet friends.”

Residents plan to hold a demonstration outside the store today in protest over the owner keeping Besada in employment since the incident occurred last year.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “The window of a shop door in Boundary Road, Hove, was smashed at some time between 10.30pm on Saturday, November 4, and 1.30am the following morning.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information about it is asked to report online at https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101 quoting serial 99 of 05/11.”