As well as the riots there was mass looting and many shops were completely cleared out and then set on fire. There were many images of the Sony distribution centre in Enfield and a furniture shop in Croydon being burnt to the ground. The shop in Croydon was on what was named Reeves corner (after the shop) and had been in the family for many generations and is a very sad loss to the community. The other main area to be affected in Croydon was London Road from West Croydon train station up as far as Mayday Hospital. This is a stretch of road filled with independent shops (many selling groceries, jewellry and even Rock Bottom a musical instrument shop and practise space for local bands).. The area that was hit is about a mile or so long and every single shop had it's windows smashed in at the very least.
To put in perspective, I live just off London Road between the train station and the hospital so was witness to a lot of what went on that evening. We had looters going past our flat all night as well as helicopters hovering filming the devastation and the raging fires on the corner of the road parallel to ours (less than a 3 minute walk from our front door). My husband and I stupidly went out to see how close the events were and to see if we should travel to my dad's about 20 minutes away. We took some photos (on my previous post) with my iPhone and then came home after one guy started on me when he spotted what I was doing. At that time there was one car on fire in the road and another one completely burnt out. The one that was still on fire was in front of the shop that later burned down completely and I suspect it was related.
In total 7 properties along London Road by us are in the process of being demolished. At last count there were no human fatalities although they sadly found someones pet cat in two halves which was later collected by it's owner to be given a proper burial. One of the main problems was that all the shops had flats above them so many people have lost not just their livelihood, but their homes as well. Another sad aspect was that the owners of Rock Bottom found from their camera footage that 90% of the looters of their shop were people they knew who had been customers which I find particularly disgusting.
Personally I think there is no excuse for this behaviour. Many of the people involved were opportunistic criminals. While the riots were happening in the town centre, people took the chance to loot PC World and Currys on Purley Way as they knew the police were to busy to stop them. It still feels a little like a war zone and people are still very upset about what has happened. No one really understands quite why it got so out of control and there have been accusations based on race and social status which I don't agree with myself.
Anyway I've put some more pictures below that I took on my phone since the disaster on London Road and I will be taking more as they demolish the area and when they hopefully rebuild in the future. On a side note we decided to stay here that night and barricaded the front door once we got home from our photo excursion regretting that we had left the house at all and entered the danger zone.
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Location:Croydon Riots #2