Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London riots: the third night

• Clashes in Hackney, Peckham and Croydon
• Disturbances spread to Birmingham
• Prime minister returning overnight
• Blackberry messenger used to co-ordinate trouble
• Acting Met chief promises 'robust' response

Masked man walks past a burning car outside a Carhartt store in Hackney on August 8, 2011
Masked man walks past a burning car outside a Carhartt store in Hackney on August 8, 2011
 Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

11.10pm: ITV are reporting a shooting in Croydon. Vikram Dodd says police are investigating reports but at the moment it is not believed to be linked to the riots.

11.09pm: : No one from the government was available to appear on #newsnight tonight to talk about London riots

10.47pm: Barry Neild is now in Dalston:
We've detoured to Dalston where a bus was set on fire in shacklewell lane earlier. The single deck bus is now cordoned off and there doesn't seem to be much damage, but the incident has clearly shaken the large Turkish community here. Many shopkeepers are on the street talking about how they chased away the gang of youths behind the bus fire.
"We beat up four of them quite badly and they ran off," one man, who wouldn't give his name, said. Another said: "this is not justice, coming here and trying to attack us." Notably several businesses are still open ascot usual here, unlike other violence hit areasWe've just watched a mob of locals chase a gang of hoodies down the main road, with police vans on full siren in pursuit.
10.33pm: Audio interview with Matthew Taylor, who is in Croydon.

Matt says the scene is one of "burned out cars". Shops have been looted too. Some 300 to 400 people were involved in disturbances. Matt says the police seem stretched with controlling the large fire – which we saw pictures of earlier and is believed to have engulfed a carpet shop – leaving very little presence at all in the areas he has passed through so far.

10.26pm: I've been passed this account from someone who witnessed violence in Walworth, between Elephant and Castle and Camberwell, earlier. They've asked not to be named.
I turned up at the Morrisons supermarket branch on Walworth Road, SE17, at about 6.50pm only to find the place shuttered up and one of the few members of staff remaining by the back door telling me that they had closed early as it was due to "go off" in Peckham, four miles away, at 7pm.
I left and dropped into a bar to pass on 'the news' only to see BBC World footage on the TV, taken from a helicopter by the look of it, of nearby Lewisham burning, and Peckham soon after. Within minutes, fives and sixes of masked blokes were running past the bar and through to the main street, a handful dumping cars outside the bar on double yellow and charging through to the nearby thoroughfare, which the police had blockaded at the north end in the vicinity of the Tankard pub, along the side road from the police station.
Buses were stopped and abandoned, I'm told, and looters were laying siege to Lynne's Electrical, jewellery and pawn shops, the Carphone Warehouse, Foot Locker and later M&S and finally Argos, and that's all that I heard. Others will have been done, although the Turkish supermarket was apparently left alone.The pie and mash shop in the sidestreet of Westmoreland Road was also entered and trashed
Young men, 90% of them black, and the occasional middle-to-old aged black woman, then spent the next hour or so running through the sidestreets with their pickings, the first of them with widescreen TVs, boxes that contained kettle-sized electrical goods, trainers and the like from Foot Locker, and M&S clothing. A white 20-something one with a bad limp came to the door of the bar to ask them to call him a cab. The request was declined.
Some of the looters dumped gear in nearby gardens and returned to the Walworth Road, others had filled wheelie bins with whatever and were pushing them home, while the professionals returned to the double-parked cars (BMWs and the like, tinted windows in at least two cases) before replacing their masks and returning for any pickings they may have missed.
Innocent people turned up at the bar who had been diverted around the sidestreets, one telling me he saw a gang of about 10 black youths throw a man off his motorbike at Albany Road traffic lights before another rode it on in the direction of Camberwell. then the cyclists around him at the traffic lights who tried to help were attacked with weapons by hooded and/or masked vigilantes coming from the vicinity of adjacent Burgess Park.
People in the bar who lived on the other side of the Walworth Road were ringing relatives/kids on the other side of it not to open their doors to anyone - it was anarchy in the literal sense of the word.
Two police vans finally made it up to Argos at about 8.30pm, which dispersed the people in and outside there sporadically. They had been in there for about an hour though people were still loitering in nearby streets with intent at nightfall. We can only hope that nothing is torched by late arrivals who find themselves empty handed. That, or the police regain control of the thoroughfare.
10.20pm: More from Nick Watt – Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has been commenting on tonight's riots:
I am shocked by the scenes we are seeing in parts of London and Birmingham.
This violence and vandalism is disgraceful criminal behaviour.
What we need to see is the strongest possible police response to restore calm and security to our streets and for communities to work together.
It is right that the Prime Minister is chairing Cobra. We need a coordinated response to ensure public safety and help those people who have lost homes and businesses.
10.16pm: Brixton: Sam Francis is in Loughborough Junction Brixton, where he witnessed 30 youths, faces covered, being chased into the station by two police officers. Police vans and cars were also in pursuit, and blocked the youths inside the station. More as we get i

10.10pm: . "I'm ashamed to be a Hackney person," she says. 9.49pm: Ben Quinn is in Clapham Junction, south London:
Dozens of youths started the night's violence on Northcote Road at just after nine o'clock when they ransacked a Curry's electronic store in Northcote Road. They were joined by dozens of others, many with black hoods and scarves after a small number of riot police left the scene half an hour earlier when they came under light bombardment from projectiles.
Onlookers and locals identified many of those present as "blues, yellows and reds", members of local gangs who they said had called a truce for the evening. Along Northcote Road the windows of other stores in including Starbucks were smashed.
The gangs ran along the road and at one point a middle-aged man and his wife pointed in the direction of a jewellers further up the road and other potential targets.
Less than 30 metres away dozens of revellers stood outside a local pub drinking beer and looking on.
As it became apparent after 20 minutes of looting that the police were not coming back the looters were joined by many more.
9.44pm: Lizzy Davies is filing from Hackney:
Full scale looting going on at Clarence convenience store right by the burning car on clarence road. "One by one" shouts one man as people crowd round to get into the shop, whose entrance has been smashed in. Women calling: can you get me a magazine? Other people asking for alcohol. A photographer is being threatened by a guy and press moving away. But others still smashing in rest of shop front.
The situation is highly volatile. A man was just hit over the head with a bottle and punched in the face. A witness said his assailant was a woman. He was left bleeding down the back of his neck. The apparent motive for the assault was that the man was taking photos. But he told police afterwards that he hadn't been doing that when he was targeted, so the circumstances remain unclear.
 9.26pm: Peter Walker has more from Catford.
I just watched an extraordinary scene in Catford, maybe half a mile from the main trouble. With the police occupied a small group of young men decided to kick down the door of a Halfords store, in full view of the busy South Circular road. As they tried and tried - the shutters were tough - a crowd formed, and cars stopped. One young woman leaned out of her car, laughing: "Satnav! I want a satnav!" she yelled at them.
Eventually - maybe 20 minutes later - riot police with dogs arrived and the slower-running looters (some people did carry off goods) were caught.
Earlier Peter told me he overheard a police inspector saying on a radio that the trouble in Catford is the work of 150 people at most.
"But the trouble is, they're so mobile," he told his boss. "You clear them out and they pop up somewhere else."
9.19pm: The prime minister will return to London, the BBC is reporting. He will fly overnight. Earlier Downing Street said Cameron had no plans to cut short his holiday.

9.15pm: The fire continues in Croydon. Trying to get more info from the area.

9.11pm: The violence has sprad to Leeds, reports Martin Wainwright:
There was a tense situation in the Chapeltown area of Leeds where police were called after a man was shot and suffered facial injuries.
Up to 100 youths, some wearing masks, gathered in the area which has seen street violence in the past but has enjoyed a better reputation in the past decade.
The UK's second biggest Caribbean carnival is held in the local Potternewton Park on August bank holiday with a parade through the city centre.
9.01pm: A large building in Croydon is ablaze. Very intense fire. More shortly.

8.57pm: Caroline Davies was jotting down the full statement from Met police acting commissioner Tim Godwin earlier:
We have to report, as you have seen from your own media coverage, that there is significant disorder breaking out in a number of our communities across London .
As a result of that we have a lot of police officers on duty . But I do urge now that parents start contacting their children and asking themselves where their children are . There are far too many spectators who are getting in the way of the police operations to tackle criminal thuggery and burglary .
And I am imploring that people within those communities actually start clearing the streets to enable my police officers to deal with the criminality that is occurring in front of them.
I can understand grievances and we've heard lots of debate about what the various issues are that are making people commit these acts . But what I have seen is pure violence, is pure gratuitous violence it is criminal damage and it is burglary .
I and my officers will pursue all those engaged in criminality and we will put them in front of the courts and we will be asking the courts to send down significant sentences in relation to this form of activity.
There are many thousands of young people in London who do not commit crime and we are seeing this is blighted by the actions of a few.
But I do implore we do ask to clear the way for us to allow us to arrest those that are engaged in that activity.
Grievances, concerns, challenges in communities are things we ought to be talking about. They are conversations we need to have. It does not in any way excuse the levels of violence, the levels of damage and offences that are being committed.
I can reassure Londoners we have a lot of police officers out there. We remain steadfast and determined. I have a lot of very brave officers who will continue to police this. Just give us the space now to deal with the people that are doing it.
8.50pm: Barry Neild is witnessing worrying scenes in Hackney:

Police officer in riot gear being treated on ground behind police barricade off lower Clapton Road in Hackney. No visible injuries but her ankles were trussed together

8.46pm: Violence is escalating on the Pembury estate in Hackney.


  1. The Rioters are Blair's Babies
    Thatcher's children had no moral compass. Blair's babies have no moral compass, no sense of belonging and an infinite sense of entitlement. These kids are the victims of neglect. Neither Blair nor Thatcher believed they should be guardians of a national ethos, taught in schools and through good husbandry of the social environment. All they believed was that the media were God.

  2. Hi John...thanks for contributing. Your assertions sound plausible for after all we are the children of our own created enviroment. I would be interested to read an expansion of your thoughts though.Cheers


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