LIVE UPDATES: Riot fallout hits south London, Croydon
1:40pm Monday 8th August 2011 in News
Croydon riots coverage
7.36am Tuesday: Morning. A new live blog has been started, so click here to follow developments in Croydon today
1.20am: Crews still fighting a number of fires in Croydon, including 20 firefighters at a blaze in London Road.
This is a video from Maciej Prokop in Croydon tonight - more of these tomorrow. Don't miss them.
1.00am: Police confirmed there was a non fatal shooting in Croydon during the looting.
They had no details of the identity of the victim but said it was not a police officer. It was unclear whether it was related to last night's rioting.
Latest reports reports suggest the situation in Croydon is easing slowly but there are still sporadic pockets of looting and disorder.
Police said all the borough had been affected with crimes taking place in New Addington, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Addiscombe and town centre.
Commander Christine Jones, said: "The violence we have seen is simply inexcusable. Ordinary people have had their lives turned upside down by this mindless thuggery. The Met will ensure that those responsible will face the consequences of their actions and be arrested."
00.12am: Your story. - Patrick Ratnaraja - I just got back from Broadgreen area and could not believe what I saw when I was there.
There were groups of young people very well organised (have all the tools they need) breaking into shops one by one.
I have never seen so many young people on the streets of West Croydon with bottles of alcohol.
There were cars parked on the side streets for those to getaway with looted items.
A van and a car was set on fire.
Best food (Tamil grocery shop).
An electronics shop near Zodiac court.
A motorcycle shop.
A currency exchange place and of course Lidl.
The police could see what was going on but were helpless and did not move beyond the Lidl area.
Apparently now the organised gang has gone away after breaking into the exchange place. It is now the local gangs roaming around.
A young man could not carry all those bottles on his own stopped my car and even offered me a bottle of vodka free saying "just take it brother".
There is absolutely no excuse for what has happened in Broadgreen and other parts of Croydon.
We cannot blame the police as they are severely under resourced.
It is time for people to start taking responsibility. I hope parents of these young people will come forward and inform the police if they see their children with stolen goods.
Your stories - Barry Gentry.
00.07: Heading through Purley Way at 9.45am Sainsburys and TK Maxx being looted PC World had people just walking along the road with TVs in hand not even running.
Headed to the back of Centrale to See Reeves on fire with the building collapsing loads of cars parked up with a handful of police stopping people for getting past.
Headed to West Croydon there was a line of riot police blocking from the station towards the centre with smoke filling the air behind them.
I rode towards Thornton Heath to see every other shop has been broken into the road was covered in glass and waste there were people just standing around while a van was melting into the tarmac.
More towards the bus garage near the pond they were breaking into Somerfield and the TV store opposite.
Norbury KFC was smashed up the gambling shop had been ripped open and they were heading towards Streatham
23.56: Your stories - Mark Luker .
I drove up through Sumner Road at about 2100 hours and saw large groups of male youths, most covering thier lower faces and most of black ethnicity, running towards London Road.
About twenty minutes before I saw large groups running along Mitcham Road towards the BP petrol garage, most looked like they were carrying items taken from shops.
23.51pm: A member of the Reeves family has said he would not "not have been averse to shooting" the rioters who burned down his family's Croydon furniture store tonight.
Speaking to the BBC Trevor Reeves, a member of the fifth generation of the Reeves family to work at the store, said the building was now just a shell.
"What are we giong to do for the future now?" he said.
"How are we giong to keep trading and get everything sorted out?
"It's just a shell."
The shop employs 15 people.
23.16: A decision on whether Crystal Palace's Carling Cup tie against Crawley Town tomorrow night can go ahead will be made in the morning.
Meanwhile, Charlton's tie against Reading has been called off on police advice and the FA is also seeking guidance from the Met on whether England's friendly at Wembley against Holland will take place.
West Ham's game tomorrow night has also been called off.
23.14: The building seen burning in Croydon is the borough's oldest furniture retailer.
House of Reeves has been trading for over 140 years, and is such an integral part of Croydon, the surrounding parade of shops is known as Reeves Corner.
The famous landmark in Church Street, Croydon, was targeted by rioters and looters at around 9pm. Seconds after a double-decker bus went up in flames, yobs smashed the store's doors and windows.
Groups of youths wearing hoods and masks entered the store, stealing furniture before returning and setting fire to the contents engulfing the family run store in flames.
Reeves was founded in 1867 by Edwin Reeves, from Sherborne in Dorset. Five generations of the Reeves family have run the shop which was one of the few independent furniture retailers left in London.
Marc Reeves tweeted: "That shop in Croydon is on a street that bears its name: Reeves Corner. Established by my great great grandfather in 1867. Now gone."
23.07: Croydon Guardian reporters Peter Truman and Hannah Williamson were at the House of Reeves just minutes before it went. Peter tells the story.
The black smoke plumed into the sky just metres from the buildng we stood near only minutes ago. As I near the scene I see a gang of more than a hundred youths in hoodies and masks doing as they please.
A double decker bus is engulfed in flames in Old Palace Road while youths smash windows in nearby stores in Church Street and run off with anything they can grab.
Fearing for my safety I look around for a policeman but they are nowhere to be seen. For the past hour we have seen an organised operation from gangs of youths using phones to discuss the latest hit and tales of evading police.
As they walk past they are getting messages telling where to reconvene and where to target.
We flee the scene as they start to torch other buildings and head to the nearby Argos.
The alarm blares out into the night after another gang had raided the building and made off with DVD players, MP3 players and Satnavs.
Two off-duty officers tried to tackle the yobs, but after a successful first attempt had to flee when a new group charged the store.
All around us was lawlessness with no sign of it abating and the ever-growing cloud of smoke as Reeves Corner burned into the night.
22.36pm: Community leaders have reacted with anger.
Leader of Croydon Council, Councillor Mike Fisher, said: “I am disgusted by the mindless hooliganism displayed by the criminal element that has come to Croydon.
"Businesses that have been around in Croydon for more than 100 years have been destroyed just because these morons think it is all right. The council will do all that it can to assist the police in bringing these people to book. It is simply not acceptable.”
Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It is an absolute disgrace. It has nothing to do with any issues these people have. These are pure common thieves more interested in getting a free telly.”
Councillor Clare George-Hilley said: “It’s disgusting to see Croydon's historical landmarks burnt to the ground by a bunch of mindless thugs who are hell bent on destroying people’s businesses and homes.
"When you see scenes like this it’s no wonder half the country want the death penalty reintroduced.”
10.00pm: The BBC is reporting that riots are underway in Clapham. Anyone on the scene?
9.59pm: A witness tells the Croydon Guardian that driving past PC World and Comet on Purley Way, she saw gangs "piling in" and looting the stores.
9.20pm: Croydon MP Gavin Barwell has said told the BBC he thinks the riots are "sickening" as he watched pictures of the fire in Reeves Corner.
"I'm absolutely sickened to see this happening in our town and my first thought is for those who own the businesses in that area," he said.
And he said he welcomed news the Prime Minister is returning from his holiday to deal with the crisis.
"I'm very pleased the Prime Minister has taken that decision, it's entirely the right thing to do," he added.
9.13pm: Sadiq Khan has been speaking to the BBC as it showed horrendous aerial footage of Croydon as fire took hold at what is understood to be Reeves Corner.
And the Tooting MP branded the rioting in Croydon "criminality, plain and simple".
He said: "I was shopping in Croydon two days ago and walked past these shops with my wife.
"What has been good is that the police have been out in the streets trying to reassure people."
Black smoke can be seen rising from Croydon as far afield as Sutton.
20.57pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman has filed from the scene:
Looters have targeted more businesses in Croydon with a furniture store in Old Palace Road being burgled. Lidl on London Road and Rock Bottom guitar store have also been attacked by thieves.
20.46pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman has filed from the scene:
A double decker bus is ablaze near Reeves Corner with a large gathering of youths gathered around watching it burn.
20.30pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Hannah Williamson has filed from the scene:
Looters have raided the Argos store in Church Street.
Thieves broke into the catalogue store by smashing through the back doors in the loading bay.
Evidence of what they have taken litters the area and includes sat navs, portable cd player and camcorders.
The alarm is still ringing as hooded youths try to enter the town centre which police have sealed off.
The Maplin store next to West Croydon station has also been vandalized.
Windows were smashed but the building already had it's shutters down.
19.54pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman has filed from the scene:
The streets around West Croydon station are in complete lockdown.
Swarms of youths in hoods and masks are confronting the police from every junction to London Road.
Bricks, bottles and sticks were thrown at the police line, who are armed with batons and riot shields.
Tactical support, in full riot gear, are also on the scene.
The police have set up a sterile zone between the Fox and Hounds pub and North End.
West Croydon station has been shut.
BBC Travel alert is reporting buses across London Road have been stopped and London Tramlink is suspended between Reeves Corner and East Croydon.
One petrified motorist warned drivers to avoid the stretch of London Road leading up to West Croydon station as gangs of marauding youths in balaclavas were attacking cars.
The female motorist was driving to pick her dad up from work to avoid any trouble when she drove past the junction of Sumner Road and London Road.
She said: "Everyone should avoid London Road towards West Croydon station. There were gangs of youths with hoodies and balaclavas trying to open car doors as they went past.
"One gentleman hadn't locked his car and they tried to get in but he managed to drive away.
"Another car crashed as he swerved to avoid another vehicle. It is very dangerous down here and my heart is still thumping from the experience."
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh released this statement: "Our officers are out on duty across, and we have extra resources policing the capital. We will continue with this additional policing for as long as is necessary.
"Let me make it clear that people who are using current events as an excuse or cover to break the law, steal, attack police officers and cause fear to Londoners will not be tolerated by the vast majority of Londoners and us.
"Our investigation, which is massive in scope, is continuing. We are liaising with businesses and communities across London, including at a borough level to keep people up to date with what we are doing.
"I would ask Londoners if you know anything that may help us please get in touch with us via 020 8345 4142."
7.27pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Hannah Williamson has filed from the scene:
Around 200 youths are charging at police, throwing missiles before running away. Two rows of riot police are lining the junction of North End and London road with dangerous scenes unfolding near West Croydon station.
Sticks and pieces of stone and rock have been thrown at police. Youths are continuing to charge at police at the top of Tamworth road.
One teen who gave his name as Jermaine has been told by police he couldn't cross the line to go to his house.
He said: "Some of us are just trying to get home." Police have again moved the line of spectators back as bottles and bricks have started to be thrown.
Breaking news - Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman has filed from the scene:
About 100 youths are in a stand off with police as police closed off North End to pedestrians. Some missiles have been thrown at the police line near London Road and youths are taunting officers as they attempt to keep people out of the borough's main shopping area.
6.28pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Peter Truman has filed from the scene:
Officers were quick to diffuse a potential disturbance in the Whitgift centre. About 15 youths in hoodies entered the centre from north end. Police and security from the centre followed and as they did the youths scattered and fled. Police officers gave chase and two boys were stopped and questioned as others made their escape. It is unclear if any arrests were made.
5.25pm: Croydon Guardian reporter Hannah Williamson has filed from the scene:
"Despite various rumours on Twitter of looting in shops and problems on transport, there has been no trouble for the police to deal with.
"Croydon High Street is on lock down as police try to stop the trouble before it starts.
"Most shops are now closed, with the grills in JJB, Debenhams, PC World and Currys firmly down against the windows.
"A few young men have been stopped and searched but it has all been very peaceful.
"Some shoppers are stopping and talking to police, though most are heading home having had their trip cut short."
4.26pm Croydon Police say they have an "appropriate policing plan" for tonight in the wake of rumours of a planned riot in the town centre.
Detective Superintendent Jo Oakley, Croydon Deputy Borough Commander said: "We are working with our partners and local businesses in Croydon and we have put in place an appropriate policing plan to tackle any disorder and deal with normal policing across the borough as well.
"This kind of mindless criminality will not be tolerated and we would urge communities to join us in condemning the actions of the violent minority and to report information about those responsible to police.
"Any information can be passed anonymously to police via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. "We would also ask the public to report any incidents of criminal activity - however minor - immediately to police by calling 999."
4.20pm Croydon University Hospital has released a statement about its readiness for any disorder.
The statement said: "Croydon Health Services will work with the police and Croydon Council to deal with any situation that arises and minimise any disruption.
"The Trust has robust systems to deal with major emergencies such as these and if necessary can put these into place.
"These measures include possibly drafting in further security staff to ensure our staff and patients are safe."
4.05pm The Metropolitan Police has set up an incident room following the riots over the weekend.
Operation Withern is investigating the disorder and violence in parts of London over the weekend.
Anyone with information should call the Major Investigation Team on 020 8345 4142.
The team is being led by Detective Superintendent John Sweeney, and is made up of detectives from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, specialist investigators from the Public Order Branch and police support staff.
3.50pm Our reporter on the scene Hannah Williamson has said stores in North End are closing early as a precaution.
She reports Pc World, Currys and Topshop have all closed, and JJB looked to be closing.
She added chairs outside Allders had been removed as a precaution and Debenhams had put grills across their windows.
There is a strong police presence with about 50 officers in high visibility in the area.
Our reporter says they have conducted several stop and searches already.
3.30pm Shops in Croydon have been told by the police to be extra vigilant tonight.
A letter has been distributed to stores in the Whitgift Centre.
It advises extra security staff have been drafted in as a precautionary measure.
It is telling store owners in the centre to make sure their properties are fully locked and alarmed tonight.
The centre remains open to the public.
3.30pm The London Chamber of Commerce is advising any Croydon businesses worried about being a target for looting to contact the Metropolitan police.
A spokesman said they did not want to see businesses close if they did not have to but safety was the main priority.
He added the chamber was in dialogue with the police over any new advice.
It comes as shops in Croydon report being tipped off about being a possible target for looters.
The Croydon Guardian has received reports from one store in Purley Way that it could be a target.
The store is reportedly removing its stock from the shop floor and using large stock to barricade doors tonight.
Best Buy in Purley Way was a target for looters last night.
3.05pm A worker at Best Buy in Purley way has described the break-in there last night.
According to the man, about 20 people dressed in hoodies and masks smashed the front door of the store in the early hours of the morning.
A night guard who was patrolling the building spotted the gang and called the police.
It is believed the group were in the store for no more than half an hour.
They made off with some phones but damage to the store was minimal.
2.45pm Croydon’s emergency services are discussing how best to deal with any potential trouble today.
The briefing with the Metropolitan Police began at 1pm today and is believed to still be continuing.
Among those present is Inspector Jack Ioannou, who is in charge of British Transport Police operations in Croydon.
He said the BTP would have the “correct” number of resources on hand based on intelligence and advice from the Metropolitan police following the meeting.
Key to any potential operation will be East Croydon station, which sees 60,000 people pass through its barriers a day.
2.35pm We have images coming in of the damage in Croydon last night by what the council described as "opportunistic looters".
Bright House in North End was one of the shops targeted and had its windows smashed.
Do you have any pictures of damage? Send them to pictures@lo