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Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk in BirminghamWere hoping to raise money for dogs’ home but were escorted by policeLocals attacked them and hurled abuse in Sparkbrook area of the cityMen claim police said they had caused offence to locals during RamadanEllis’s wife Victoria was called a ‘dirty white s***’ in front of her children
Two brothers in law who went on a sponsored walk wearing comedy mankinis had to be picked up by police – after they were pelted with stones and eggs by residents in an apparently racist attack.
Steven Ellis, 41, and Jason Hendry, 22, wanted to walk eight miles from Solihull to Birmingham city centre wearing the outfit featured in 2006 film Borat to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home.
But they ended up being escorted by officers after they were attacked as they passed through the Sparkbrook area of the city, claiming police said they had caused offence to locals during Ramadan.
They were driven through the area as locals hurled abuse at them – calling them paedophiles. Mr Ellis’s wife Victoria, 36, had followed the pair’s journey in a car, with the couple’s five young children.
She said: ‘We were basically run out of the area. We had stopped at a supermarket car park to give the dogs a drink as it was a hot day, and we were suddenly surrounded.
‘The men were taking off their jackets and threatening to fight Jason. I have seen nothing like it in my life before. The children were terrified as within minutes a crowd of 30 or 40 men assembled.
‘They began throwing stones and eggs at us. They were shouting at Jason saying that he was a pervert and a paedophile, and one of them called me a dirty white s***.
‘They told us that they hated dogs and told us to get out of the car park. The children were petrified and asked why these people were calling me a s***.
‘One egg narrowly missed hitting my 12-year-old son, Jason, leaving him petrified and even passing cars ended up being hit by the eggs and stones. The abuse was appalling.
‘We called the police and they came straight away. I asked the police what they were going to do to help us but they just said it was because of sensitivities over an EDL (English Defence League) march and Ramadan.
‘We didn’t even know there was an EDL march planned for that day – we had nothing to do with it. Our family just love dogs, we’ve homed a rescue dog and we wanted to raise money to help the charity.’
Mr Hendry said: ‘A man who was in a nearby hairdresser came over and started having a go at us and then a guard at the supermarket and the manager came out and joined in.
‘It was disgusting behaviour. I was furious. I was angry with the local people for how they reacted and we tried to explain it was just a bit of fun, to raise money for charity.’
The police escorted them all back to Birmingham Dogs’ Home because there were two groups of men waiting at the end of the road.
He added: ‘But it was also frustrating to have to be escorted as it made us feel like we had done something wrong. I am shocked and disgusted that this should happen in our city.
‘It was like something you see on TV. The idea behind the mankini walk started off as a dare and then we decided to make it a reality and do it to raise money for charity.’
‘We have a love and passion for dogs and we both wanted to do it to raise money for Birmingham Dogs’ Home.’
Mrs Hendry added: ‘I grew up to respect people irrespective of colour or creed as have my children. But this was totally appalling and has made me so angry that this should happen during an event to help a charity.’
The men raised £300 from the event, and have donated the money to the dogs’ home.
‘They told us that they hated dogs and told us to get out of the car park. The children were petrified and asked why these people were calling me a s***’
Victoria Ellis, 36, wife of Steven Ellis
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to reports of tensions on Stratford Road in Sparkhill at around 2:50pm on July 20 due to a group of men wearing fancy dress whilst on a charity walk.
‘Officers attended and worked closely with those at the scene to resolve the situation peacefully in order to ensure no unnecessary or unintended upset was caused.
‘Police left the area around 25 minutes later and there were no further calls to the location.’