Woolwich stunned after night of rioting

By Rob Virtue on August 9, 2011 12:41 PM |

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The Woolwich community is beginning the long clean-up following a night of severe vandalism and looting across the town.

Shop-owners were inspecting the damage to their stores after the riot which also saw the Wetherspoon's pub almost completely destroyed by fire.

Jewellers, computer stores, banks, bookmakers and fast food chains were also hit.

The town was one of the major hotspots for Monday evening's violence, which has been going on across the capital since Saturday.

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Bookmaker Corals was broken into and vandalised. Manager George Ross said: "We had an idea something was going to happen and closed early last night. But I was surprised by the level of damage this morning.

"They tried to get plasma TVs off the wall and they smashed through gaming machines and tried to get into the safe and the tills."

Crowds gathered outside The Great Harry Wetherspoon pub, which opened in 2000, and was almost completely burnt out after being set on fire.

London Fire Brigade was still in attendance this morning, where firefighters had just put out another blaze in the pedestrianised high street.

The area, Powis Street, was closed off to the public. WH Smith was one of the shops cordoned off.

Worker Jay Patel said police had told him there was no damage to the store but did not know when the street would reopen.

He added: "We saw what happened in Tottenham on the news, then we heard about Clapham and Croydon last night, but you don't expect this in your own area."

Meanwhile, leader of Greenwich Council Chris Roberts said he would ensure the rioters are punished.

"We shall seek the eviction of anyone living in council property if they are found to have been engaged in criminal acts," he said.

"The vast majority of local residents I have spoken to are understandably disgusted by what happened last night.

"We owe it to them to ensure that we do all we can to support those who live and work here, and are determined to stand alongside the local community."

Deputy leader of the opposition Councillor Nigel Fletcher added: "These are quite dreadful scenes of criminal activity and lawlessness. There is absolutely no excuse for behaviour like this, which has left buildings in ruins and residents in fear.

"The situation is still developing, but we are extremely grateful to our brave emergency services, who have risked their lives in the face of appalling violence to try and defend our neighbourhoods."

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Carrie said:

Disgusting how people can do this just for stealing as well

JR said:

I support the council's decision to threaten anyone convicted with eviction, but I fear that the various laws we have will prevent it.

Still, if his statement puts the wind up even a few potential looters then good for him.

Sarah Emily said:

I'm really shocked about what has happened and the seriousness of it, I have only lived in Woolwich just under 2years but really feel upset about the state of the town centre, people wrecking there hometown is just disgustul, it stings a little more as it comes just after the recent renovations, a waste of hard work to make a better place to live to only be destroyed. Really selfish mindless thugs

MB said:

Is there anywhere members of the public can see photos of looters in woolwich?...so we could see if we could identify anyone and report to the police

MB said:

Is there anywhere members of the public can see photos of looters in woolwich?...so we could see if we could identify anyone and report to the police

Paul said:

We will go through this!

tracy said:

i was beginning to think no 1 cared about Woolwich - well done people! i agree with Sarah, I am new to the area & I hadnt realised just how much Woolwich had grown on me before i saw it smashed up & burnt out....anyone doing a clean up job? I want to help!

sg said:

I witnessed the damage caused to Woolwich yesterday and didn't realise so much damage had been caused.
Many shops were having their windows replaced yesterday morning. Which gives some places a sense of normality.
My concern with the evictions to those caught is will this not give them more reason to do it again if they now have nothing to lose?
I think looters/rioters as part of their sentencing be told to clean up or contribute towards the mess they made. No one likes to clean up mess that they didn't think they'd have to clean up! It will effect them emotionally and socially and I think that will have a greater impact on the perpetrators than just evicting them!

stuart said:

Rioting has happened in Woolwich many times over the years.
There was a riot by soldiers in the 1910s

Instead of complaining about some broken windows, why not tell the police to stop acting like thugs

Tracey Gregg said:

Please come and support us, together we can restore faith in human beings