We ran for our lives as thugs ambushed bus: Chaos across the capital as orgy of violence rages onBy Michael Seamark, Arthur Martin, Ryan Kisiel and Rebecca Evans
Sporadic rioting, looting and arson attacks broke out across the length and breadth of London yesterday as the orgy of violence which began in Tottenham at the weekend showed no sign of abating.
From Hackney to Croydon, gangs of teenagers fought running battles with police, making roadblocks from burning cars and ransacking shops.
In Notting Hill, West London, diners eating in the two Michelin star Ledbury restaurant were attacked and mugged at their tables as rioters swept through the area.
Police in Birmingham also established an exclusion zone as large crowds gathered and shop windows were smashed.
HACKNEYMasked rioters on BMX bicycles armed with batons attacked a crowded London bus during the evening rush-hour last night, chasing terrified commuters as they tried to escape.
The thugs, some as young as eight, forced the driver to stop the double-decker by pelting it with champagne bottles stolen from a nearby Tesco.
About 40 passengers – some carrying screaming toddlers – burst out of the exits and sprinted away.
Thieves at work: A masked youth steals a flat screen TV as others hold up the shop security shutters of Harris Electronics in Hackney to help him
Masked yob: This rioter hurls a bottle at police with running battles taking place on the streets of Hackney while, right, a riot officer stands in front of a burning car in a moment of respite
As they ran, one woman screamed: 'They are threatening us with big sticks. We have to run for our lives.
'What have we done to them? We are innocent people just trying to get home.'
Mounted police formed a line as rioters set fire to four cars outside Pembury estate.
But as night struck, the police line backed off and the streets became lawless.
Young and lawless: This thug, who hasn't covered his face, batters away at a Met Police car window with a plank of wood
Watching it burn: A rioter with a can of Special Brew in his hand casually strolls past a blazing car outside the targeted Carhartt store in Hackney
She said: 'About five white people just got beaten and robbed. There is a group of them. They hit a photographer and stole her cameras. She had blood gushing down her nose.'
Earlier gangs attacked cyclists and motorcyclists, pushing them over as they tried to get home.
And a thug used an axe to break into a Tesco supermarket. More than 30 gang members then streamed in, stealing bottles of alcohol which they used as missiles in later attacks.
At one point, child rioters tried to hijack a bus so they could drive it at police.
The attackers were mostly black youths, but they were joined by white men, women and children.
Thugs were also seen leaving a JD Sports store carrying tracksuits and trainers.
Last night, it was claimed communities were now turning on each other as they watched their livelihoods go up in flames.
One eye witness in Hackney saw a group of 100 Turkish Kurdish men chasing another group with sticks and bottles after their shops were looted.
The area has a large Turkish community, which normally coexists peacefully with people of other ethnic groups.
CLAPHAMA 200-strong teenage mob tore apart stores along the main shopping street in Clapham Junction, south-west London.
Thugs smashed their way into a branch of Ladbrokes and tried to tear a plasma TV screen off a wall in Lavender Hill.
Eyewitnesses said few shop windows were left unbroken in surrounding streets as thieves systematically stripped shelves.
Among the targets were branches of JD Sports, Debenhams and Foot Locker as well as Wimpy and a hairdresser.
Under arrest: Police detain a man for looting in Clapham Junction, South London, while crowds of people simply stand around and watch
One bystander said: 'I saw a middle-aged woman walking away with five bags from Debenhams. People are helping themselves to carrier bags.
'Another woman was calmly flicking through earrings. There is not a single police officer here.
'It is mostly young men wearing masks, but there are children as young as ten and hundreds of onlookers. It is like a war zone.'
Crowds of young people streamed away from Clapham with their arms full of shoes, designer clothes and electronic goods, leaving discarded goods on the ground.
Nervous shop owners huddled in the doorways of some businesses in a bid to protect their livelihoods.
Aftermath: Firefighters were still damping down buildings this morning after the blaze in Clapham, south London
Riot police left the scene after they came under light bombardment from projectiles
More youths, many with black hoods and scarves, then joined the scene.
Onlookers identified many of those present as 'blues, yellows and reds' - members of local gangs.
Along St John's Road the windows of stores 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.
Arson attack: The Party Superstore in Clapham Junction was targeted by criminal gangs
And nearby, police were telling residents to evacuate after a fancy dress shop and flats above it were set on fire. The blaze on Lavender Hill sent plumes of smoke up into the air.
Earlier looters had been taking masks from the store to hide their identity.
CROYDONFire destroyed a landmark furniture store last night during violent clashes between masked youths and police.
Black smoke could be seen across South London as House of Reeves, on Reeves Corner, was razed.
Police at the scene of the Croydon disturbances were investigating a 'non-fatal' shooting, after a 26-year old man was found in a car with gun shot wounds in Warrington Road, at 9.15pm.
Wreck: A fireman walks past the burnt out shell of 140-year-old Reeves Furniture store in Croydon this morning
He was taken to a south London hospital where he remains in a serious condition.
Overpowering: A fireman stands with his hands on his hips as the raging inferno tears through Reeves
Two other people, believed to be in their late twenties, were also at the scene.
They were arrested for handling stolen goods and taken to a south London police station. Detectives from Trident are investigating.
Residents compared the scene in Croydon to the blitz as a double-decker bus and several cars were also torched.
Gangs of youths, some armed with knives, fought with police as supermarkets and other businesses were attacked.
Looters raided a branch of Argos, smashing the rear doors and making off with satnavs, CD players and camcorders.
Police locked down a large section of the town centre, closing West Croydon station and warning residents to stay away.
Terrifying ordeal: A woman can be seen jumping from a burning building in Surrey Street, Croydon, while fires rage around her
Leap of faith: The woman jumps from the second floor window and a group of people attempt to catch her
PECKHAMA woman and small child were taken by ambulance to hospital with burns and breathing difficulties after a shop below their flat was set ablaze.
The pair were seen screaming above Greggs bakery in the High Street as youths wearing balaclavas carried homemade Molotov cocktails through the streets.
Riot police with shields charged at rioters before two fire engines arrived at the scene.
Spark for violence: Youths are seen on the street throwing fireworks in Peckham
Spoils of greed: A child cycles away with a supermarket basket full of booty looted from a Tesco store in Peckham Rye
On the run: Looters burst through the window of a shop on Peckham high street carrying their spoils
A line of police stood helpless a quarter of a mile away in Rye Lane.
A terrified wife also told how her rugby-playing husband was dragged off his motorbike by 12 hooded youths who beat him up and took his bike.
Another witness to the violence, teacher Matthew Yeoland, 43, said: 'There’s been tension for a long time. The kids aren’t happy. They hate the police.'
Arson attack: This branch of Greggs was set ablaze when fire in the building next to it spread
'They've all got BlackBerrys and gangs have got together.
'It’s like a war zone and the police weren't doing anything. There were too many people and not enough police.'
ENFIELDAround 40 firefighters are tackling a large blaze at a warehouse in Enfield, London Fire Brigade confirmed.
The building, believed to be a Sony CD distribution centre, erupted in flames just before midnight last night before partially collapsing, according to a LFB spokesman.
Eyewitnesses described how they saw a gang of around 20 looters leaving the warehouse, in Solar Way, north-east Enfield, with electrical goods before the fire took hold.
Factory fire: Some 40 fire fighters are battling a blaze at a a Sony warehouse in Enfield in north London
'Eight fire engines are in attendance and around 40 firefighters have been fighting the fire.
'They are making steady progress and will remain on the scene into the morning.
'There was quite a lot of black smoke and the building has partially collapsed into itself.'
Around 200 people staying at a Premier Inn hotel next door to the distribution centre were evacuated as the blaze took hold.
Buckled: The size of the fire meant around 200 people staying at a Premier Inn hotel next door to the distribution centre had to be evacuated
'This is further evidence of the riot spreading in all directions really,' he said.
A eyewitness, named as 'Tommy', also told the BBC how he saw a number of looters leaving the warehouse with electrical goods before the blaze took hold.
He said he was punched by the culprits as the fled the scene.
Scotland Yard confirmed officers were working with colleagues from LFB at the scene of the fire.
Officers stand guard on Camden high street following skirmishes with rioters in the early hours of this morning
Locking up: Police lines move towards the iconic Camden bridge as disorder broke out in the North London town last night
Chalk Farm Road was closed off as thieves started to trash a Sainsbury’s and Evans cycle shop.
Audience members attending a show at the Roundhouse in Camden were kept inside the venue under police instructions and Camden Town tube station was shut early.
Police faced running battles with youths who pelted them with bottles, bricks and sticks, while others looted several shops.
ELSEWHERE IN LONDONIn Ealing people were being forced out of their cars by rioters who then set them alight.
In Notting Hill, The Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury was attacked and dinners were mugged, before thugs were chased off by kitchen staff.
Michelin starred restaurant The Ledbury, whose regular guests include Michael Winner, Kate Moss and Lily Allen, also came under attack as an estimated 100 masked youths ransacked the restaurant and robbed diners of their expensive jewellery and belongings.
News of the carnage first broke around 11pm on Twitter when twitter user @harrywilkinson tweeted about his parents' anniversary dinner being interrupted by looters in the exclusive Notting Hill restaurant - which was rated 34th in the Word's Best Restaurant list.
He said: 'Bunch of people smashed the windows in and came in and tried ripping watches/wallets jewellery off customers. Kitchen staff came out with knives.'
As the chaos continued, chefs working at the Michelin-starred restaurant, swapped knives for rolling pins as they tried to protect terrified diners from the mobs surrounding their tables and demanding their valuables.
Food blogger, Louise Yang, tweeted that it was her 'most expensive meal ever', as looters tore her engagement and wedding rings from her finger, and described as chefs came to their rescue with kitchen utensils before ushering all the guests into the cellar.
There were reports on Twitter of yobs wielding machetes in Notting Hill.
Criminal damage: Cars burn on a street in Ealing, West London, where there was also looting by groups of hooded youths
Sloane Square Tube station was among dozens that were closed last night during the unrest.
A Tube worker said marauding gangs had been targeting designer clothing and jewellery stores.
In Kensington High Street armed officers from the Met's diplomatic protection unit stood by an abandoned bus.
The windscreen of the double decker had been smashed.
Disturbances were also last night reported in Woolwich and Lewisham and have also been seen in Oxford Circus, Brixton, Waltham Forest, Islington, Clapham Junction and Poinders End.
BRISTOLCopycat rioters rampaged through Bristol today with police chiefs warning of 'volatile' scenes in the city centre.
More than 150 young rioters were causing disruption in the areas of St Paul's and Stokes Croft, the scene of rioting earlier this year amid anger over a new Tesco store.
People were warned to stay clear of the city centre as police launched efforts to bring the scenes under control.
A number of shops and vehicles have been damaged, an Avon and Somerset police spokeswoman said.
Several main roads have been closed 'to allow officers to take control of what is currently a volatile situation'.
'Officers are urging people to avoid the city centre at this time,' she said in a statement.
People already in the city centre should leave the area and go home, she added.
Chief Superintendent Jon Stratford said: 'We have been working closely with other forces and criminal behaviour like this will not be tolerated.
'We were hoping this type of disorder would not come to Bristol. However we have plenty of units on duty ready to respond.
'Our primary concern is to keep people safe and minimise disruption to residents, motorists and local businesses.
'We will always respect the right of any individual or group to take part in a peaceful protest.
'But when disorder occurs, we have a duty to the wider community to do everything we can to calm the situation and restore order and prevent criminality.'
LIVERPOOLMerseyside Police said it had been dealing with 'a number of isolated outbreaks of disorder', including burning cars and criminal damage, in the south Liverpool area.
A witness in north Liverpool described scenes of mass violence in the city.
Riot police were working to contain a crowd of about 300 people, many of whom were youths with their heads and faces covered, according to the witness.
Fire on the street: Two car burn on Lawrence Road in Toxteth Liverpool
Riot police were working to contain a crowd of about 300 people, many of whom were youths with their heads and faces covered
'Literally hundreds of cars have been damaged.
'Police look like they’re trying to get them penned in.'
He added that a branch of Tesco had been looted and then set on fire by the rioters.
BIRMINGHAMWest Midlands Police today said it had made around 100 arrests after rioters rampaged across Birmingham city centre and some surrounding areas.
Shop windows were smashed last night as large crowds gathered following rumours of copycat riots.
Police established an exclusion zone up to half a mile around the city's famous Bullring shopping centre. McDonald's, Jessops and LA fitness were targeted, with bins thrown through the windows.
At around 10pm, rioters appeared to be moving away from the city centre towards Birmingham's historic jewellery quarter.
But at around 11pm West Midlands Police confirmed that a police station in Holyhead Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, was on fire.
Kung fools: Unmasked yobs try to kick through the windows of a jewellers shop near the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham
Spread wide: Police form skirmish lines in a bid to hold back the crowds outside the Bullring in Birmingham, where violence also flared last night
The squad is staying in the city ahead of the third Test against India which starts on Wednesday.
England bowler Tim Bresnan said on his Twitter account: "Just seen the rioters in Birmingham fleeing down the main street followed by a load of police in the full get up. What's going on?"
All-rounder Stuart Broad added on Twitter: 'Police vans all around Birmingham where we are right now.'
Cllr Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said: 'We are appealing to people within the city to remain calm and allow the police and others to do their job in bringing these incidents under control.
'To help achieve this it is important that as many people as possible leave the streets. We urge all parents within the city to get in touch with any children or young people not currently at home asking them to return.'
Housewife Lynne Tamburro, 48, said: 'My son told me what was going on when he got in from work.
'I came to have a look and now there are police running round everywhere shouting, it is terrifying.
'I rang my son and he said 'Don't move, I'm coming to get you now'.'
Another witness said: 'I think these are just kids who are copying the riots in London.
'I saw them attack shop windows and running around shouting and screaming.'
Imarn Aamin had come to Birmingham for the day from London on business said: 'This is ridiculous, I live in London and it feels like a war zone there.
'Now it is happening in Birmingham. When is it going to stop?'
Mike Golden, 44, is the manager of the Austin Reed branch in Birmingham's Temple Row which was ransacked by looters.
He said: 'I got a call from the alarm company saying intruders had broken into the shop. I thought it was strange for the time of day.
Policing the animals: Officers cluster at the city's iconic Bullring site
Emptied: Mobile phone shops such as this one were among those which seemed to be specifically targeted by looters
As the evening wore on in Birmingham, scenes became increasingly ugly as looting and rioting continued.
The large group of youths which had initially gathered splintered into smaller gangs and proceeded to wreak havoc across the town.
Mobile phone shops were a particular target, with thieves breaking into the back rooms of New Street's T-Mobile and Orange stores to steal mobile phones. Innocent passers-by were also dragged into the violence.
One young man was set upon by a mob who punched and kicked him before taking all his possessions.
An amusement arcade was also hit, but police again massed nowhere near the groups causing trouble.
The chaos also attracted crowds of onlookers.
Astonishingly, many of these brought their children, some pushing pushchairs others leading them round watching the violence.
Blue line: Riot officers block the main streets in the city centre of Birmingham, as they attempt to contain the outbreak of civil unrest
Rich pickings: Some stores, such as this jewellery outlet, removed its stock for security purposes
He said: 'Things do seem to have calmed down a little bit now.
'There are a small number of groups who are still causing trouble in the city centre and officers and public order teams are working to arrest them.'
Officers were controlling road access on some of the arterial routes into the city centre, including the inner-city ring road.
Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: 'We will not tolerate mindless violence and damage anywhere in the West Midlands and are working to ensure that the offenders are identified and caught as soon as possible.
'A policing operation is in place with extra officers in Birmingham to restore calm in the city centre, and protect local people and businesses.
'Our communities have made it clear to us that they do not want this kind of violence in their city and we will continue to work with them to bring anybody who commits acts of crime or anti-social behaviour to justice as soon as possible.'
West Midlands Ambulance Service said it had received calls about 24 incidents in the city centre, mostly relating to 'assaults of one sort or another'.
A spokesman said a total of 34 patients had been seen by crews and 11 people had been taken to hospital.
Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Tracey Morrell said: 'Thankfully the majority of the injuries that our crews have had to deal with have not been too serious but clearly any injury is one too many.
'The Trust has been working closely with colleagues in West Midlands Police and other parts of the NHS, but having to deal with this number of additional incidents undoubtedly puts an unnecessary strain on the Trust.
'We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the normal 999 service remains unaffected by these unfortunate events.'
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