Retailers across the UK are waking up to scenes of devastation this morning as the weekend’s London riots and widespread looting spread throughout the country.
Shops, businesses and homes have been set ablaze, ransacked and in some cases completely destroyed in north, south, east and west London, as well as Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham and other parts of northern England.
The alleged police shooting of Mark Duggan in the Tottenham Hale area of north London appears to have triggered widespread violence and civil unrest in many pockets of the UK, with electricals stores, department stores, furniture outlets and grocers all among the businesses targeted.
Retail units in Clapham, south London, including H&M and Blacks, saw windows smashed, while tills were robbed across the country and around 100 arrests were made in the popular shopping Bullring shopping area of Birmingham as gangs ran riot in the centre of the West Midlands city.
After trouble in Tottenham, Brixton and other locations in the capital over the weekend, disturbances started yesterday in Hackney, east London and sprang up in a multitude of areas throughout London and then the rest of Britain as the night drew on, with police and other emergency services racing from one battle to another.
Cars and wheelie bins were set on fire in the Toxteth area of Liverpool in what appeared to be copycat chaos on Merseyside.
Early signs are that electricals retailers and sellers of big ticket items are among firms widely targeted as groups of opportunistic thieves ceased their chance to rob shops of TVs, computers and phones.
A spokesperson for Dixons Retail, which owns Currys and PC World and was the victim of a number of attacks, said the company is assessing the damage this morning and working out a strategy for the rest of the day.
Similar conversations are being had at Home Retail Group, parent company of Argos and Homebase, which also experienced a plethora of break-ins and robberies during the course of the night.
Meanwhile the 140-year-old Reeves furniture store in Croydon, south London was set on fire and completely destroyed in one of the many arson attacks across the UK.
A statement released by the Metropolitan Police (MPS) this morning said: “Last night was the worst the MPS has seen in current memory for unacceptable levels of widespread looting, fires and disorder.
“The MPS responded with the largest policing operation of the three nights to date (approximately 2,500 officers in addition to 3,500 officers already on boroughs). This included receiving aid from other forces and using armoured vehicles to support officers on the ground to clear areas of trouble.
“A significant number of arrests were made (well over 200 overnight - in excess of 450 over the three nights), leading to all MPS cells being full and prisoners being taken to surrounding forces.
“Those involved in criminality should be under no illusion that we will pursue you. We have been making arrests all evening and have a team working during the night examining CCTV images. We will follow up evidence in the coming days in order to bring anyone else responsible for criminal acts to justice.”