Roundup of the Riots
Last night saw the beginnings of a wave orime and terror that swept across the nation’s capital. From 20:15 GMT, coverage on the London riots in the public media were scarce, and rumours of a media blackout were looming. Through the night The West Londoner, and in particular our own Gaz Corfield, worked to give you the details as and when they happened.
From all of us at The West Londoner we would like to thank everyone who kept us updated, linked to us and made us one of the most viewed global sources of news for the riots. You gave two unpaid journalists the motivation to continue.
While some rumours and reports were falsified and overblown by the lack of public knowledge, we reported the riots through the night, into the early hours of this morning.
New reports indicate that the morning brought with it a sense of withdrawal from looters and rioters, although new reports since our last update at 4:35[GMT+1] show figures to be at over 100 arrests, with 35 police officers injured. There is also a confirmed report that a shop owner in Streatham was hospitalised by rioters in the defense of his shop.
All indications point to this being a premeditated attack across the capital. But what do you think? Premeditated criminals, or opportunistic looters taking advantage of the chaos?
And for those who missed it, here is a report of what happened through the capital over an alarmingly violent eight hours.
The first place to be hit was Enfield, beginning with a raid on the local HMV store, and the vandalisation of a police car. This escalated into a wave of destruction and theft. Within an hour, Teritorial Support Group were present at the town’s mainline railway, with dogs present on the ground. Two helicopters were seen overhead in the early hours of the riot and more reports came in of looters, including PC World, a local chemist and the Krispy Kreme store. Despite initial reports that Krispy Kreme was ablaze this was false; it was actually the local branch of Nando’s. The restaurant was totally gutted by fire.
The looters then moved across the A10 that runs through Enfield and made their way to the retail park and to the local Morrisons and Cineworld, both were reported to have been looted and trashed. Later the local Tesco Express was also looted. Brick walls were kicked down for ‘ammunition’ against police and reports that youths were throwing petrol bombs at cars on the A10 circulated.
One surprising development that caused alarm of the situations severity was the appearance of a black armoured police van, turning out to be a bullet/bomb proof ‘Super Duty Public Order Van’.
The Enfield looters then appeared to move north-east and into Ponders End, where they hit the local bus garage, and more reports that a youth had been stabbed outside Edmonton Conservative Club surfaced.
The attention on Enfield seemed to die down around 23:15[GMT+1] with the new reports coming in from Walthamstow and Brixton. However it wasn’t long before pictures and updates circulated concerning the local Sainsbury’s that had been smashed but left relatively intact within. This raised questions as to the motives of the rioters. They’d looted various shops but now seemed to simply be causing damage for little gain.
At 00:43[GMT+1] there was a claim of a gunshot. This was never confirmed, presumed false.
At around 23:00GMT we received word that Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, had publicly alerted disturbances in the area. Actual reports were sketchy, with news that the fire service and the Tactical Support Group were present. Later confirmed attacks on BHS arose, but the news was greatly overshadowed by the events in Brixton. At 02:12[GMT+1] Kemshott School was damaged by rioters, leading the police to make a hasty entrance into the area.
The story of Westfields Shopping Centre was a confusing section of the news. There seemed to be very little actual disturbance, yet the police seemed to either know something the public weren’t aware of, or they were being incredibly protective. The first reports from Westfield came in around 23:00[GMT+1] and suggested that rioters were stoning cars travelling past the centre.
At 02:59[GMT+1] we received word that police were erecting barriers outside Westfields, confirmed at 03:09[GMT+1] with the sightings of semi-permanent barricades, armed officers and dogs. Despite this, no developments were reported and reports were that Westfields would open as normal.
At around 23:18[GMT+1] it came to the attention of The West Londoner that Brixton was beginning to show signs of being hit by rioters. This brought new concern for the Metropolitan Police and the public as this was an attack in South London, as opposed to the rest of the North London riots taking place in Enfield and Ponders End.
A few minutes later came news that rioters were bottling police in Brixton, most of them masked. Police entered Brixton in force, to attempt to dissipate the potential chaos. It wasn’t until 23:47[GMT+1] that the mainstream news agencies began picking up the actions in Brixton, thirty minutes after The West Londoner began updating.
Around midnight Brixton’s Coldharbour Lane heaved with a massive police presence, and more reports that looters had hit H&M arose. More shops were then hit, including Footlocker,M&S, McDonald’s and Curry’s. Of all the shops that had been looted so far, Curry’s seemed to be receiving the biggest raid so far, with reports flowing in for more than an hour. This also seemed to take attention away from Brixton’s high street.
Heavy rain began and seemed to assist the police, as many looters and rioters appeared to not be passionate enough about their cause to stand in the rain. By 2:00[GMT+1], Brixton was very much the central focus of the media, and seemingly the Metropolitan Police, as they shut off Coldharbour Lane and the Curry’s store, in attempts to regain control. At around 02:34[GMT+1], police reinforcements were sent to Curry’s and the crowd of looters began to scatter.
Reports of youths brandishing baseball bats in Bow, where that was the only real report to come out of the area.
False rumours of Hemel Hempsteads riots originally indicated that the local Primark had been set ablaze.
Still looking for ID on a looter idiotic enough to upload his face to the internet with his ‘rewards’ (left).
At Kings College Hospital, police reported rival gangs starting fights after two members were admitted with minor wounds.
An official update from the Met Police at 03:10[GMT+1] stated:
“Police are tonight responding to copycat criminal activity across London and are deploying officers to tackle it.
There has been looting in a number of boroughs in north, east and south London by small and mobile groups. Groups of youths continue to attack police officers and a number of police vehicles have been damaged.
Three officers have been taken to hospital after being hit by a fast moving vehicle at approx 00:45hrs. The officers were in the process of making arrests in Chingford Mount, Waltham Forest, in connection with youths looting a shop. Two officers are believed to have superficial injuries and the other has an injury to his knee.”
In Streatham, South London, an Argos store was looted (report by LBC Radio).
Another Argos store in Tottenham Hale was also looted.
In Chingford, the Halfords and Curry’s stores were looted, with Halfords taking the more concentrated damage.