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My Experience

Saturday, 13 August, 2011 21 comments

One week ago, the UK was hit by a troubling series of riots, first across the capital, and then across the nation. What we here at The West Londoner didn’t realise is that by the end of it we’d be in the thick of it.

For me, the coverage of the riots began at 1am on Sunday night (7th August). I was contacted by Gaz who told me that riots were springing up over London, he was liveblogging and he needed my help. That night I can’t say I was of much use, I simply made some MS paint images of the places where the riots had struck, and then scanned Twitter for rumours and confirmations of things that were happening.

It was really on Monday afternoon when things really began to hit us. After the unbelievable traffic success of Sunday night, we believed we may have had something going here, so when things kicked off the following day, Gaz and I were assisted by Xenia and we began liveblogging for a second night. All of your support was overwhelming, and we received many comments that really hit home for me personally why we were doing this. At around midnight on the Monday, the fatigue was starting to hit us. We’d all slept for a mere few hours the night before and had been liveblogging for around nine hours. We agreed to put up a small PayPal donate button on our article, to see if we could scrape together some small donations.

It is at this point I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to us and say that it’s made a big difference to us. I’d also like to thank the great people at Budweiser UK, who sent us some beer for our work.

Tuesday was the day where we planned on taking it easy. A couple of the team left their homes, rather than staying glued to the laptop screen, and I began to work on another roundup article, the way I’d done on Monday morning. However, it began to kick off again and without Gaz I took control of the liveblog. Gaz returned a couple of hours in and took over, and I manned Tweetdeck with Xenia on the Facebook page. This structure stuck and became our formation for tackling the waves of news and requests.

* * * *

And so it comes to this point, a week after the incidents began and a lot of tiredness, stress and destruction later, and I just want to say that it’s been a privilege to get to help so many people and that for me personally, it still hasn’t sunk in just how much of an effect we had. None of this would have been possible without you guys, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who sent in information and supported us over the four nights.

Categories: Opinions

London and UK Riots Live

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011 520 comments

Feel like buying us a pint or two? All of us are doing this unpaid – it would be nice to have a meal and a drink. 🙂

Additional reporting: Gaz Corfield (current liveblog), Ricky Compton (liveblog prior to 17:30 and now Twitter @thewestlondoner), Xenia Coudrille (Facebook page), Lee Fleming (research), Chris Green (research), Sean Cameron (ground reporting & research) and Moa Aarenstrup (late night research).

Live updates below.

0325: We’re knocking off – third day of doing this and it’s taking it’s toll. Nothing new coming in London now. Will do a roundup of the day’s events when we wake up tomorrow.

We’ll end the day with a few words from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh of the Metropolitan Police. Goodnight and stay safe.

“I would like to remark upon the considerable bravery and resilience shown by members of our community overnight. People intervening to make their disgust known about the activities of these mindless yobs. Our officers, and crew from Fire and Ambulance all demonstrated their bravery, as they were attacked whilst trying to protect our streets.”

0323: BBC apparently confirming the Dudley story. Last reports – unconfirmed – that two or possibly three people were hit by a car which appeared to have been driven at them deliberately. Sangat TV, non-English reporters on a Sky channel, are saying that two men died. We have no way of confirming that at this time though.

0318: Austen Close, Thamesmead.

0316: Nothing more on Silver Street in Enfield.

0314: VIDEO: People chasing alleged looters in Enfield earlier today. We’ll leave you to form your own opinions on the content of the video, if you wish.

0310: Earlier rumours of fire in Holloway unconfirmed – a car may have been set alight an hour ago but we can’t be sure. Checking reports of something in Silver Street now.

0302: Sangat TV on Sky are reporting two people dead in Dudley, Birmingham – this seems connected with the road traffic incident of earlier. Possibly a deliberate hit and run but that isn’t confirmed yet.

0300: We’re going to knock off at 0315 – London is quiet now and we’re exhausted. Any fresh updates to @thewestlondoner and @gazthejourno if you have them.

0256: Gloucester police horses just now:

0250: Silence all round. Waiting on rumours from Dudley. More reports of disturbances in Gloucester too now.

0243: Hounslow fire is most definitely out. Meanwhile the burnt out car in Lawrence Road, Liverpool, apparently belongs to a naval officer.

0240: Verifying reports from Dudley/Birmingham. Thamesmead has gone quiet – hopefully the arsonists there have given up.

0235: Police in Dudley have released a statement referring to three men being injured in a road accident and taken to hospital. Nothing about a death, but we’re looking into it – eyewitnesses claimed someone was killed.

0233: Fresh reports that the Thamesmead fires are cars, not houses.

0230: Updates slowing because we’re getting lots of unconfirmed rumours in, trying to verify. Reports of a possible death in Birmingham, working on that. Thamesmead has gone quiet – Hounslow fire is out – Liverpool reports just vehicle and business premises fires, no fires in residential areas.

0227: This just in from Thamesmead area;

0223: VIDEO: Small fire in Hounslow being dealt with not long ago. (external link)

0218: Smithdown, Liverpool, not long ago:

0217: Four fire engines attacked in Liverpool, apparently. Crews uninjured but the vehicles themselves are reportedly out of action, says our Liverpool correspondent. (who hasn’t knocked off thankfully!)

0211: Eight fire engines attending large blaze in Brunswick Road, Gloucester, reports Sky News. Still looking out for more info on Thamesmead arsonists and Enfield situation. Thames Valley Police in Reading reporting a fire in London Road, Reading.

0209: LBC radio apparently just reporting that British Transport Police have confirmed disturbances on Silver Street in Enfield. Developing…

0206: Reports now that arsonists in Thamesmead may be near a primary school. Obviously the school is empty and the reports are not confirmed, but we’re working on it.

0204: Unconfirmed reports that the arsonists in Thamesmead are mobile and moving towards the town centre there. Near Crossway Gym.

0201: Houses near Linton Mead (Thamesmead area) are apparently on fire. Confirming.

0156: Reports that Thamesmead is suffering from arsonists – stand by.

0155: More from Liverpool: 2 fire engines and police car hit by missiles in Lawrence Road (see 0128 update) but none of the officers were injured.

0152: Picture of (extinguished) fire in Park View Road, Tottenham:

0150: Our Liverpool man, Alex Mitchell, is clocking off – no more news from there for the moment.

0149: Reports coming in now that Manchester City Centre has been reopened. Still looking at Camden for any news on the burning pile of rubbish (yes, London has become that calm that a pile of rubbish is now our focus!)

0146: Unconfirmed report from Camden that someone has set fire to a pile of rubbish. Looking for confirmation.

0140: Calm in London now, unless you know otherwise. Tweet us – @gazthejourno and @thewestlondoner.

0133: Apparently the Ashley Road depot (which backs onto Park View Road) is home to Haringey Council’s asbestos team. Let’s hope they didn’t have any asbestos there…

0132: Police have arrested four people in Borough Road, Birkenhead, for conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

0129: Peter Beaumont on the ground near the Park View Road fire is reporting that the fire brigade have attended and extinguished the flames. Police are continuing to patrol. That was quick!

0128: Picture from Lawrence Road, Liverpool, about an hour ago.

0126: Recycling depot at Park View Road apparently handles general waste including cooking oil and used engine oil – possibly some of that which is fuelling the flames?

0124: Park View Road is the rubbish lorry depot – separate reports coming in of something to do with a “diesel depot” according to BBC. Confirming.

0121: Three explosions reported at Tottenham rubbish lorry depot.

0120: Birkenhead pub just now. Merseyside police say to avoid Park Road South in Birkenhead.

0117: Fire engines seen heading towards the Tottenham rubbish lorry depot. Finding official name/address of the depot now to avoid confusion.

0113: Car on fire in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, courtesy of Paul Lewis of the Guardian.

0110: Council rubbish lorries on fire in Tottenham – sparks reportedly 200 feet high there now.

0107: Peter Beaumont of The Observer (there’s a newspaper you don’t hear about often) is on the spot in Tottenham; there is a fire at the council recycling depot there. Explosion not long ago, may have been a fuel tank of some description.

0105: Fire in Tottenham, possibly riot-related. Checking now, seems to be in N17.

0101: Reports from Matt Holehouse of the Daily Telegraph that there are disturbances at Feltham Young Offenders’ Institute. Prison service are apparently dispatching extra vans.

0058: Latest from St Albans is that two people set fire to a bin earlier. Not riot-related so we’ll say that all is calm there.

0054: VIDEO: Street band United Vibrations playing on the street in Brixton – from Arjun on the ground there. (external link to TinyPic).

0053: Shops already being repaired in Manchester, seems to have calmed down there too.

0051: Police confirming reports of damage to shops in Birkenhead and some fires there too. Looking for more details.

0049: Reports coming in from Liverpool of more disturbances there. London seems relatively quiet now – I’ll stick my neck out and say that we have no active rioters in the capital now. (no doubt that’ll change inside ten minutes…)

0047: Picture from Tesco Express in Hayes just now. Police already on scene, nothing more to report from there.

0044: Tesco Express in Hayes was apparently hit by ram raiders – doesn’t appear to be riot related at all. Picture of a BMW minus its front numberplate going around but no solid confirmation just yet.

0041: Interesting photo of a jazz band in Brixton from our man on the ground there.

0040: Two of our researchers have just gone to bed (they have day jobs, lucky sods) so updates may slow. Tweet @gazthejourno and @thewestlondoner if you have more info.

0037: Rioters are trying to break into a Jessop’s camera shop in Manchester. Reports that Greggs has been targeted.

0035: VIDEO: Police vehicles driving slowly through Enfield. No reports of anything except curious crowds there now.

0033: Asda in Toxteth (Liverpool) reports a breakin but police are on the scene.

0030: Not much more known on Slough. Updates will pause for a few minutes – confirming some info on Manchester.

0027: Crayford fire is apparently domestic, nothing to do with rioters it seems. After that burst of reports it really does seem to be quietening down across London.

0022: Enfield Town. Lots of police, not much disorder it seems.

0019: Starbucks in Slough a few minutes ago. Smashed window – nothing more known yet.

0017: Kensington is reported to be calm. Don’t know anything more about the Crayford fire – I can tell you that there was a fire, and now there isn’t a fire.

0016: Crayford – apparently the fire service have extinguished the fire there. Swift action!

0015: Brentford update – people are saying it’s peaceful there.

0013: Crayford (in Dartford) a few moments ago. Finding out what exactly this is now:

0010: Billy Kember of the Times reporting that crowds in Enfield are melting back into the pubs. Seems to have been a brief flash, nothing more. Hayes skip fire unconfirmed.

0008: Gang of 40 reported in Slough just now. Confirming that.

0006: Lombardy Retail Park in Hayes reportedly quiet now. Confirming location of those skips reported earlier.

0003: Skips being set alight in Hayes now.

0000: Pic from Billy Kember of the Times, who’s on the ground in Enfield now:

2358: More reports coming in from Enfield station – checking now. Hayes still unclear.

2357: Rumours coming in of a possible fire at Hayes Lombardy.

2354: Sky News reporting objects being thrown at police in Liverpool.

2350: VIDEO: Miss Selfridge in Manchester on fire, courtesy of ITV/Granada.

2346: Tulse Hill, Dulwich, Streatham and Norwood all calm. London seems to be cooling down. At this rate we might get to sleep by 2am!

2344: VIDEO: Eltham earlier this evening (YouTube external link).

2340: Safe to say that West London in general seems to be quiet. Nothing from Harrow or Hounslow areas either. This is Hounslow bus garage a little while ago:

2336: Brentford seemingly quiet. Some sirens but it’s likely that whereever there’s trouble in London police will be moving there. Sirens on their own don’t mean trouble in your area!

2332: Helicopters reported to be near Mitcham and Wimbledon. Nothing reported on the ground, so no cause for alarm down there.

2329: Old stuff coming in from Eltham indicates that there was a fairly large crowd with police there. Still checking for latest on situation there.

2328: Busy checking reports from Eltham – this seems legit:

2315: Reports from Birmingham suggest that the city has been locked down and things are getting calmer there.

2314: Brixton reports that all is quiet except for the residents’ cleanup operation there.

2311: Five people in Watford have been arrested for criminal damage. Canning Circus fire in Nottingham – latest there is that the fire has been extinguished and police are preserving the scene for forensic evidence. Eight arrested there.

2310: Slight technical difficulties at our end. Manchester and Nottingham both report police still clashing with rioters. 15 arrests in Salford. Greenford (London) is quiet.

2302: Dagenham, Uxbridge, West Drayton and Ruislip all quiet, despite rumours.

2259: Lewisham High Street reportedly quiet, as are Burnt Oak and Greenford.

2254: Burnt Oak update: the cars that were apparently burning there have been extinguished.

2252: VIDEO: Eltham a few minutes ago. (YouTube link)

2248: Huge amount of rumours going around about Lewisham. I am going to downgrade our reports to UNCONFIRMED because all verifiable reports from people living there say it’s peaceful at the moment. Eltham situation fluid.

2246: VIDEO from Seven Sisters. External link to yfrog – it is on its side, unfortunately.

2245: All buses and trams in and out of Manchester have been suspended apparently, but the trains are still running, reports

2243: BBC News live reporting from Manchester behind riot police now.

2240: Picture from Seven Sisters a few minutes ago:

2236: Seven Sisters Hair and Beauty is reportedly on fire. The fire in Southend was on the Leigh industrial estate (link to local paper), very close to Big Yellow Storage.

2231: Big Yellow Storage in Southend is NOT on fire. We’re slowing down to double-check our info before posting more on Eltham and Lewisham.

2229: Picture below of Eltham is of a flare, not a bomb – Lewisham appears to be quiet despite large group of people reported there earlier.

2225: Riot vans going through Deptford towards Lewisham. Meanwhile in Leicester helicopters are assisting police on the ground over there. Some damage on Granby Street, apparently.

2223: Rumours of fire in Basildon appear to be false.

2220: Lewisham seems to be quiet according to locals there – perhaps the bulk of the people round there have moved towards Eltham. Confirming.

2218: Fireball in Eltham, very close to Shoezone:

2216: LBC radio are reporting around 2000 people moving from Eltham to Lewisham to “reclaim the streets”. Developing – updates to @gazthejourno and @thewestlondoner on Twitter please.

2214: Six arrests in Liverpool from earlier, city now quiet. Nothing much happening in Portsmouth after the fire in that derelict nightclub either.

2213: Canning Circus police station in Nottinghamshire firebombed by 30-40 men, report Notts Police.

2211: Reports coming in that 400+ people are running through Lewisham, from a source on the ground. Confirming now – that’s very recent.

2208: Met Police confirms disturbances in Canning Town, Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Highgate.

2205: Gang of youths reported to be on the rampage in Milton Keynes.

2204: 20 police officers on guard outside Bletchey train station, reports the Milton Keynes Citizen.

2203: Curry’s in Ruislip was hit earlier – pic found on Thanks to Peter Smallwood for digging that out for us.

2200: Harrow is all quiet, our man there reports that pubs are serving beer as normal.

2159: Restarted my browser, that’s cleared up the slowness. Reports of a fire in Burnt Oak are coming in thick and fast. Low-quality pictures coming in.

2153: Road closures reported in Birmingham. Unconfirmed reports of something happening on the A127 in Southend – looking into that now.

2152: Reports of water cannon leaving Northern Ireland and the Guardian’s front page for tomorrow reports that plastic bullets have been authorised for use on the UK mainland by David Cameron.

2148: Lots of reports coming in that Eltham has become a popular spot. Police attending the scene there.

2143: Cotton Street in Poplar is closed due to a public disorder incident. More as we get it.

2143: Southbury Rail Station, near Enfield, has just closed.

2139: This picture is apparently of Millwall fans in Eltham earlier. My laptop is going slow – back in a couple of minutes.

2134: Four people reported to have been arrested in Bletchley.

2132: Fabric World in Bletchley is reportedly on fire. Meanwhile the groups of people out on the street may be about to clash with each other. Trying hard not to use any emotive words to describe these groups – wary of stoking tension.

2131: Unconfirmed rumours of something happening in Bletchley town, Milton Keynes area.

2127: Rumours of a fire in Wandsworth that was caused by a kitchen accident – not riot related.

2125: Confirmed reports of a car on fire in Dagenham and youths gathering in the area.

2122: Police in Wembley report no incidents there, it’s all calm across NW London. Meanwhile reports that more people are gathering in Enfield and Southall.

2120: Local people are now on the streets in Eltham, Enfield and New Addington.

2117: Reports from Eltham (London) that cars of people are driving around randomly attacking passers-by. Stay away from the area if you can.

2115: Sky News people on the ground in Manchester reporting that police are confiscating petrol bombs. Worrying news.

2112: Looters supposedly breaking into Oxfam shops in Manchester now. Having another look at London – tweet updates to @thewestlondoner and @gazthejourno

2111: This is reportedly a BBC radio car in Manchester:

2108: People in Mitcham are being told to go home by police.

2107: News just in that National Express coaches will make their final departures from Birmingham, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Dudley at 9.30pm.

2106: VIDEO: Police riot vans speeding through Brixton earlier. (YouTube link)

2104: A fire has occurred in West Drayton but it is definitely not linked to the riots.

2102: Mitcham, Tooting and Wandsworth all quiet, no futher disturbances. Unconfirmed reports of youths at a petrol station in Wembley now.

2101: LBC reporting that Apple have emptied their stores nationwide in case of looters.

2100: Sikhs in Southall are out in force by the gurdwara tonight;

2059: Reports of trouble in Wembley, London. Looking to confirm.

2056: Bristol reports heavy police presence but no trouble as yet.

2055: Manchester Metrolink has been suspended – there is no service there at all.

2052: Lots of people taking to the streets in Enfield:

2051: Police in Dagenham have made an arrest. Romford police are still moving troublemakers towards the marketplace.

2051: Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester has been cordoned off apparently. Checking now.

2050: Nottingham seems fine after slight unrest yesterday but both football teams there are playing apparently. Potential for problems?

2047: New reports from Nottingham. Standing by to confirm there. Will have a look at London again in a moment. Maybe we should rename ourselves “The UK’er”?

2045: Liverpool is quiet now. Reports that Portsmouth is still tense but quiet.

2042: Daily Mail reporting that the England cricket team are locked in a hotel in Birmingham. Meanwhile Hat Man in the city centre there is being looted:

2040: Shepherd’s Bush is nice and quiet. Meanwhile Birmingham riots are apparently moving north in the city. No further updates from Manchester.

2034: Uxbridge town centre a few minutes ago. Slightly less busy than expected…

2035: Group of people we reported in Enfield earlier are apparently a multi-ethnic group with no beef against any particular group. Happy to correct the record.

2031: 563 arrests in London and 105 charged so far. Meanwhile Domino’s in Shepherd’s Bush is, er, open …

2029: Tons of updates coming in. Five riot vans in Hertford Road, Enfield. Shops are being raided in Manchester but police mounted units, aided by dogs, are getting the situation under control.

2026: Reports coming in from Milton Keynes of trouble there. Confirming now – police helicopter supposedly in area.

2024: Enfield vigilantes (50-60 or so) reportedly gathering in Church Street. People are cheering police in Enfield Town. They are gathering to stop rioters, according to our source on the ground.

2022: West Bromwich a short while ago:

2020: Police have charged with riot batons drawn in Manchester.

2019: Riot police in St Anne’s Square, Manchester, are arresting all looters and rioters there. Buses are being diverted away from Central Parade and New Addington.

2018: The end is nigh in Manchester:

2017: Fifty thousand per cent (50,000%) increase in sales of batons and similar on Amazon.

2016: New Addington in Croydon reports about a hundred people there. Apparently they may be locals.

2015: Number of arrests made in Canning Town. Lots of new reports from Croydon, combing through those now.

2012: Portsmorth is tense, according to our man on the ground there. Lots of cars driving around and a decent police presence but nothing actually happening just yet.

2008: Manchester City Centre has been cordoned off. This was Swarovski’s there a few minutes ago:

2006: Reports from Manchester that hotels have been told to lock their doors. Confirming. We’re expanding coverage to the wider UK.

2004: This just in from Eltham, lots of people gathering at local pubs.

2001: Lots of stop-and-searches being reported in Canning Town now. Police definitely in control there now.

1959: Smoke over Canning town is almost definitely just drifting over from the burnt-down Sony centre in Enfield. Things there appear to have subsided for now.

1956: Canning Town seems to be calming down now. Groups of men have reportedly gathered in pubs in Eltham and are waiting for looters to show up. Apparently Millwall fans are patrolling the area, looking for confirmation there.

1953: Oxford Street is empty. Various updates from West London saying that nothing is happening. Looks like either the police are getting to grips with the situation and tackling rioters as they start, or the rioters have finally given up. Mounted police are assembling in Canning Town.

1952: Smoke in Canning Town. (look at the top right corner of the green sign – faint but visible)

1949: Large group of people reportedly on Hertford Road in Enfield chasing away troublemakers. Rumours of racist chants coming in from there.

1946: Reports coming in of arsonists operating in Aston, near Birmingham. Confirming.

1943: Police carriers reportedly speeding through Hanwell, West London. Meanwhile this came in a few minutes ago from Salford.

1941: Police have stopped a route 45 bus in Brixton and are searching a number of passengers:

1938: Canning Town locals are reportedly fighting back against looters.

1937: Police are moving troublemakers in Romford towards the marketplace there. Potential kettle?

1935: Reports coming in from Southsea that trouble has flared. Youth groups being dismissed.

1934: Curry’s on Oxford Street a few minutes ago. Rumours of police arrests there now.

1931: Riot police are out on Oxford Street, reportedly.

1928: Cars are apparently on fire in Wolverhampton. Not confirmed, lots of people asking what’s happened there.

1925: Canning Town latest picture – external link.

1924: Bus fire reports in Canning Town are seriously mixed – some say it is, some say it isn’t. LBC are now saying it’s unconfirmed, apparently. We’re holding back on reports of that until we get something concrete – pics to @thewestlondoner if you’re on the ground.

1922: Police radio overheard reporting that 20+ masked youths are gathering on Oxford Street. Judging by the fact that it’s on the police radio I’d think that that’ll be dealt with swiftly.

1921: Greater Manchester Police are asking people to stay away from the city centre there.

1919: Canning Town latest: Prince Regent DLR station has been attacked and a bus is definitely on fire according to eyewitnesses.

1917: BBC News showing live footage from Croydon now. Resembles the aftermath of a WW2 bombing raid.

1915: Market Street Manchester about a minute ago:

1914: Canning Town bins are smoking heavily, that appears to be mixing with smoke drifting from Enfield Sony centre. Acton is quiet. In Manchester Miss Selfridge’s is reportedly ablaze.

1910: Two bins are on fire in Canning Town – confirmed. Unclear if a bus is on fire there. 20 youths attacking buses but police are dispersing them – seems they were tipped off. Looters tried something in Crouch End, police were on them in minutes. Meanwhile, Romford High Street:

1908: Dagenham Heathway about half an hour ago:

1907: Press Association reporting that windows in Sloane Square have been smashed.

1906: Canning Town a couple of minutes ago.

1903: Three helicopters over Canning Town according to LBC. Likely to be BBC, Sky and police.

1901: Crouch End Blockbuster’s was apparently damaged last night – whoops! It’s calm there now. Smoke over Canning Town is blowing across from the smouldering Sony distribution centre in Enfield Lock. No news from Ruislip.

1857: Mixed messages from Crouch End – unconfirmed reports of something happening to the Blockbusters there. Canning Town has a bus on fire, Sky News are showing footage. Meanwhile the BBC are broadcasting the weather.

1856: Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, is reportedly in Uxbridge talking to police. No violence reported there but rumours coming in about Ruislip and Northolt. We’re confirming.

1854: Update on Southsea fire from earlier – that appears to have been an arson attack on a derelict nightclub. Not connected to rioting.

1850: Brixton just now. No violence, just local people gathering to clear up the mess from the last few nights.

1848: Brockley Cross, SE4, at 1830ish. Near Lewisham.

1846: West Bromwich about five minutes ago:

1845: Wakering Road in Barking reports trouble. Everything seems to have exploded – rumours of other towns around London experiencing trouble.

1842: BBC showing footage of West gangs pushing over vans and bins. Shops being smashed as well.

1841: London Fire Brigade have confirmed that bins are on fire in Canning Town.

1839: LBC reporting a bus on fire in Canning Town. Helicopters are apparently in the area. Checking this now.

1833: Harrow, various reports that gangs of muggers are on the loose and hanging around train stations.

1831: Freemasons Road in Canning Town is closed, the Met Police are reporting that there are disturbances between the A13 and Victoria Dock Road.

1829: Ponders End seems to have gone quiet. There were reports from there that the Tesco’s was on fire but we can’t confirm this.

1828: Leyton High Street shops have closed early. No further reports from there as yet.

1825: Rioters have smashed the doors of JD Sports in the Victoria Centre in Nottingham.

1823: Ken Livingstone is calling for a curfew and for the events of the last few days to be officially declared a riot. This means police would have to reimburse people for the damages they’ve suffered, if I’ve understood it correctly.

1820: Apparently Ealing residents are banding together to protect their property this evening. Picture of a flyer being pushed through people’s doors has been seen but we won’t reproduce it.

1819: Unconfirmed rumour that Toys’R’Us in Hayes is on fire. Seems unlikely, confirming that now.

1817: Car on fire in Barnet but unrelated to rioters – apparently the engine overheated. Bad luck.

1816: Channel 4 has wanted pictures of looters from yesterday and the day before. (external link)

1814: East Ham High Street has heavy police presence – no looting or rioting reported there just yet.

1811: Met police reporting that 111 police and 5 dogs have been injured over the last three days.

1809: Pub in Tulse Hill just now:

1806: Amazon reporting that sales of steel baseball bats are up by 6,000% (six thousand per cent, not a typo) .

1803: Jubilee Line suspended between Willesden Green and Wembley Park with a signal failure. Nothing to do with riots, just the usual creaky LUL infrastructure!

1801: Large column of police Guardian armoured vehicles going into Croydon now, coming out of Croydon bus station. Pic via Guardian’s Matthew Taylor.

1800: Back streets of Hayes and West Drayton are niec and quiet, apparently.

1759: PC World and Curry’s in Croydon have been boarded up. Curry’s has been a target for the last few nights, seems like a sensible move by the management.

1757: Image from Southsea near Portsmouth, not long ago. Meanwhile a BBC cameraman has reportedly been assaulted in Salford, near Manchester. Perhaps GMP are understating what’s going on over there…

1756: BBC reporting shops looted in Salford.

1755: Bromley reported to be quiet with heavy police presence. No different from everywhere else except Croydon at the moment…

1754: MAP: from CNN, the disturbances across London and the UK so far.

1753: 20 police officers reported outside Hackney station. Croydon Council is meeting with police now.

1748: Canary Wharf tube station appears to be closed. Nothing on TfL live map.

1747: Armoured police vehicles have travelled through Brixton and Streatham and are now heading towards Norbury. Checking to see if there are any reports of violence there.

1747: Shops in Harrow Weald are closing now.

1746: Croydon businesses are closing and boarding up. Fire brigade attending the scene, apparently.

1745: Definitely something going on in Croydon. Reports of rioters present there and a car has definitely been damaged. Confirming that it is fire.

1743: Greater Manchester Police reporting that rumours of disturbances there are false. Not confirmed.

1741: Reports on LBC of a car on fire in Croydon. Confirming, this seems concrete.

1738: Police outside Westfield. Nothing happening there. Atmosphere everywhere seems to be tense and expectant. Many people have closed their businesses early.

1736: Lots of rumours but no concrete reports of violence from anywhere. BBC News reporting disturbances in West Bromwich and Sky News reporting disorder in Wolverhampton.

1732: West Norwood a few minutes ago:

17:29 Eltham shops are now closed. Police presence remains in the area.

1728: No major incidents occuring within London, heavy police presence seems to be working.

1724: Rumours of a fire in Wanstead, as yet unconfirmed but believed to be false. Any updates, send to @TheWestLondoner

1721: Uxbridge has begun closing, with shops shutting down early. Pubs appear to be remaining open.

1719: Unconfirmed reports of a vigilante group received. Will update and confirm/deny as we hear it.

1714: Hayes Town Centre closed off. More updates as we get them.

1713: Interactive riot map. (Guardian link – removed because people on the ground say it’s inaccurate)

1710: Photos of Uxbridge Sainsbury’s from our guy on the ground. They’ve pulled in all trolleys into the foyer.

1709: Twelve police vans, including armoured vehicles, seen heading towards Clapham from Brixton.

1707: Welsh Police are present in the city as part of the 30 forces supporting the Met Police.

1704: BlackBerry Messenger not suspending, but RIM are assisting police. Despite claims for local MPS, there has been no requests from the Home Office to shut down the service.

1701: Local religious residents in Uxbridge have taken to the street.

1658: West Norwood Cemetery has been closed due to fears of rioters defiling the graves.

1656: London fringe theatres are reported to be cancelling shows amidst the riot fears.

1652: Wolverhampton beginning to heat up with groups seen walking the streets.

1646: Appliances Online (who sell washing machines etc.) are sponsoring tonight’s post because they think our work deserves recognition. Which is nice of them – it’ll keep a roof over my head for a couple of weeks!

1644: Tulse Hill High Road is closing. Police presence in the area. Lots of rumours of communities being targeted but were not reporting anything unless it actually happens.

1639: Tulse Hill shops closing now. Earlier reports that Boris Johnson is out with a broom in Clapham.

1636: Uploading pictures of business as normal in Uxbridge. All reports from other areas of London seem to indicate heavy police presence but not much in the way of violence.

1634: Gaz Corfield here now. Just got back in from Uxbridge and I can confirm personally that the town is quiet. Uxbridge London Underground station is open for business. Police presence heavy for the area but atmosphere is expectant.

1624: Shops closing in Chislehurst and Paddington.

1623: Gangs spotted in Dagenham but the police ‘have it under control’. More updates soon.

1619: New reports suggest Morden shops are being told to close.

1618: Looking into reports of Eltham and Dagenham. Many seems to be false rumours

1613: Welling, Eltham and Sidcup add to the list of towns who have shut up shops.

1611: Dalston closing up for the night.

1608: Police seem to have many locations under control, and no reports yet of major breakages.

1605: We’ve received reports that trains are not stopping in West Norwood.

1602: Update on Rose Hill, near Sutton. Co-Op is fine, but had high police presence earlier today which raised suspicions.

1600: Reports of smashed Phones4U and high police presence in Putney visibly reduced.

1556: Latest images from Balham of shopkeepers boarding windows.

1555: New reports of shops closing in Purley. Also unconfirmed reports of trouble in Dagenham. Any information, please send to @TheWestLondoner.

1553: Train service between Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges running as usual.

1552: Greenwich shops and university have been closed.

1550: AUDIO: two women who claim this is “showing the rich people we can do what we want“.

1547: VIDEO: Boris Johnson in Clapham. (External BBC link)

1545: Arrests in Wolverhamption, and now polcie seem to have calmed the area.

1541: No news from Collier’s Wood or Mitcham, despite disturbances around the Rose Hill Area.

1540: The large police presence in Wimbledon appears to have deterred rioters so far.

1539: Brunel University in Uxbridge have closed their Student Union offices and bars.

1537: Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth closed.

1535: Association of Chief Police Officers say there are now 30 forces supporting the Metropolitan Police.

1533: Greenwich have boarded shops across the town.

1530: Reports of Rose Hill, near Sutton and the Co-op has been hit by looters.

1527: Movements in Walthamstow with Selbourne Walk evacuated

1525: New images from Clapham and Wimbledon

1524: TFL say they won’t be closing stations ealy.

1521: No major updates of yet. Monitoring situations in Wimbledon, Putney and Croydon.

1516: Collier’s Wood Sainsbury’s is reportedly being evacuated and closed in precaution.

1514: Reports suggest there is a presence in Plumstead.

1512: Confirmed that now the majority of both shops and offices in Wimbledon are now closed.

1509: Jewellers in Holborn

1507: New images from Holborn

1503: Police warn of gangs beginning to congregate around South Westminster. Elsewhere, there is a police presence in Egham, near Staines. A local BP garage has been boarded up.

1500: No major devlopments so far, seems like police presence and shops closing are all mainl precautionary. We’ll give you information as soon as wel get it.

1455: Confirmed reports that shops are closing in Putney. Please send any information about riots, or pictures from the scenes to @TheWestLondoner and we can help keep you updated.

1452: Police presence building in Putney as a precaution of rumours for tonight’s ‘hits’.

1451: Bermondsey also reported to be quiet, although rumours that Wimbledon Village is seeing rioters.

1448: Putney and Richmond ‘safe’ amongst rumours that rioters are in town.

1446: Reports of a bin on fire in Wimbledon. Nothing large-scale just yet.

1442: Shops in Wimbledon are reportedly being boarded up by locals and police. The station remains open for the time being.

1439: News on the man shot in Croydon is under investigation. All we know so far is that he was found at around 21:45 last night shot in his car. He died in hospital in the early hours of this morning

1437: 16,000 police to be in London this evening.

1434: Many shops in Wimbledon closing, but the station is remaining open for now.

1431: Looking at reports of arrests in Hillingdon, West London. The Uxbridge Gazette reports that twenty-six people were arrested, claims Hillingdon Council. This follows the minor vandalism in Hayes last night

1428: A great picture of the cleanup

1427: News that the man who was shot in Croydon last night has died in hospital.

And so another night of riots, this time target a more southern area. The West Londoner were again reporting through the night, with people on the ground and others harvesting news from around the capital. The locations hit since 15:00[GMT+1] showed that groups were moving south, and got down as far as Collier’s Wood and Sutton. We will be keeping you updated on any news as we get it.

Automation – Show Me The Riot

Monday, 8 August, 2011 1 comment

Automation are a four piece Electronica band, taking large chunks from many genres, incorporating metal with Drum N’ Bass, Dubstep and other electronic-based styles. Their new song ‘Show Me the Riot’ is a topical outlook on the recent riots across London. The music uses catchy electronic riffs and has a complex, finely tuned sound. The passive-aggressive tone makes it a fitting homage to the chaos of the past two nights, and addresses the mentality and disposition of the rioters.

You can check out Show Me The Riot now at Automation’s YouTube page.

Automation, a West London based Electronica band

Roundup of the Riots

Monday, 8 August, 2011 10 comments

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.

A commenter said he recognised the face of this man as a 'Rhodes'...still no confirmed identity

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.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Review

Monday, 1 August, 2011 1 comment
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Image via Wikipedia

We’re in Rome and it’s 1500. After his own motivations hinder Ezio in the finale of Assassin’s Creed 2, it’s now time for him to take down the Borgia family once and for all. Meanwhile, in 2012 Desmond and his mismatched crew of thinly personalised ‘friends’ are searching for the Piece of Eden in the hope of gaining ground in the Assassin/Templar war.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood may come across to many as little more than an expansion upon Assassin’s Creed 2. The gameplay’s relatively unchanged, the landscapes aren’t drastically different (minus the landmarks) and the feel of the game gives a severe sense of deja vu. However, is being an extension of Assassin’s Creed 2 a bad thing? Personally, I don’t believe so.

The new mechanic featured is the use of assassin recruits, which comes in two stages:  contracts and in-game support. Through pigeon coops and assassin towers, you can now command any assassin recruits you gain to go on contracts, which reward you with a payout and experience for any recruits you send. Secondly, your assassin’s can assist you in the world, from simply calling them in to dispatch a bunch of pesky guards without attracting attention to Ezio, to calling them in amidst a fight to lend extra manpower.

It works…fine. While it’s incredibly useful, and in some cases necessary in order to gain 100% synchronisation, you cant help but feel like it’s a bit of a gameplay cop-out. It’s entertaining to sic a pair of assassin’s on unsuspecting guards, but at the same time it seems unnecessary when you’re controlling arguably the most powerful assassin in Rome.

The game is driven more by the enjoyment of the gameplay than the actual story, which is well written but relatively dull in comparison to Assassin’s Creed 2. There’s also a very distinct sense of stretching about the storyline, reinforcing the rumours that Brotherhood was originally intended to be a DLC pack for its predecessor.

Don’t get me wrong, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a fun game, and will not leave you disappointed if you enjoyed Assassin’s Creed 2. Just don’t expect any revolutionary developments.

Oh, and multiplayer…yeah, it’s fun but it’s forgettable.

Categories: Gaming Tags: , ,

Dragon Age 2 Review

Sunday, 31 July, 2011 Leave a comment
Dragon Age II

Image via Wikipedia

The second instalment of BioWare’s Dragon Age series was anticipated with open arms as the promise of a finely tuned, more approachable, more cinematic version of the game was promised. What was the reality? A highly dumbed-down, simplified and rather insulting sequel to the marvellous Dragon Age: Origins.

The simplified equipment windows, more linear storyline and rather limited exploration leaves questions in my mind whether this game was made for fans of Origins or simply to absorb more money out of lowest common denominator audiences. Even the point of customer creation is highly limited.

In Dragon Age 2 you are Hawke, a set character with a set destiny that’s being narrated by one of the NPCs through a series of flashbacks of your characters life. Any modifications of Hawke’s face does lead to some minor graphics glitches as well, so you may as well just stick to the default male/female face.

The storyline is quite appealing, with many of the characters feeling complete and well-rounded; however it can become rather schizophrenic and at many points the player is left wondering what he’s actually there for. The storyline changes direction so many times its easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, unless you’ve watched the trailer which as spoilers go takes the first prize.

Dragon Age 2 is a completely fine game in its own merits, it makes good use of BioWare’s chat mechanics and the personality of Hawke is, at times, quite entertaining. However, as sequels go, BioWare seem to have lost the great ability they showed with games like Mass Effect 2. An ok game but a disappointing sequel.

Cars 2 Review

Sunday, 31 July, 2011 Leave a comment
The logo for Cars 2.

Image via Wikipedia

And so comes the sequel to Pixar’s ‘Cars’, dubbed as Pixar’s first bad movie. And Cars 2 has widely received similar criticisms that show it as worse than the original. I watched Cars 2 yesterday (from the day of writing) and have given myself 24 hours to let it sink in. The reason? Because I have no idea why it’s gained so much critical infamy.

What I witnessed was a nicely balanced mix of lighthearted comedy, diverse characters and a simple yet addictive storyline. Cars 2 is arguably a better film that the original, partly due to the fact that Pixar realised that ‘Mater’s personality was far more appealing to audiences than the slightly generic personality of Lightning McQueen. By making Mater the main character, they’ve found a more comedic baseline for the film, which really flourishes on many occasions.

Cars 2 is, in my eyes, a good film and one that Pixar should be proud of. I actually went to see this with my dad, as we both enjoyed the first film, and I can honestly say neither of us have laughed quite so much for a while.

Categories: Film, Reviews Tags: , ,