A Greenwich mum has called for businesses to take more responsibility in helping victims of crime, after a restaurant initially “refused” to help her son after he was mugged.

Desiree Stewart spoke out after her 18-year-old son was threatened with a knife while travelling back from Bromley last Thursday evening (October 3).

She told News Shopper: “He was coming back from Bromley and a man got on to the same train at Lewisham and started asking him questions and said something like ‘are you one of those Greenwich boys?’

“He pulled up his top to show he had a knife and ended up taking my son’s Airpods and his phone case, because he couldn’t unlock the phone there.

“When my son got off at Greenwich, the man kept following him. He ran into Greenwich Grind in floods of tears asking for staff to help, but they did not take him seriously.”

Ms Stewart said she was shocked when she found out the reaction of staff, who apparently refused to help, and believes it was due to her son being black and that he had been wearing a tracksuit and hoodie when he came in.

She said her son, who works in performing arts, is “not a gangster and has never been in any trouble”, and his clothes were practical for the cold weather and the activities he had been doing that day.

“He’s never been in any trouble before, this was one time where he was simply asking for help and clearly in distress,” Ms Stewart added.

“The staff would not help him until he called the police right in front of them and handed his phone over for them to speak to.

“Businesses like this should have a responsibility to help people who are in trouble like this, particularly with all the crime at the moment.

“But we need to stop the stereotyping – just because my son is black does not mean he should be treated that way, it's disgusting."

Ms Stewart said police officers had later spoken to her son, but she demanded an apology for the restaurant staff’s initial refusal to help her son.

Greenwich Grind did not respond to a request for comment.

British Transport Police was contacted for more information.