BBC News

England riots: From the scene


Rioting has spread across London in a third night of unrest, with disturbances also reported for the first time in other English cities, including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.

BBC journalists report on the aftermath of a night of violence around the country.

In Croydon today dozens of people have gathered near the burnt-out shell of one of the town's landmark buildings.

image captionThe remains of House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon

Many are taking photographs, others are simply gazing at the wreckage in apparent disbelief.

The Reeves furniture store had stood on this spot for nearly 150 years. It took less than an hour for it to be destroyed.

Maurice Reeve - whose great-grandfather Edwin established the business in 1867 - told me he had been celebrating his wedding anniversary when he learnt what was happening.

"I'm absolutely devastated," he said. "I'm old now. I'm 80 years old and it's had a profound effect on me because we've done nothing wrong.

"It has survived two wars - yet this happens, and we don't understand."

Maurice's son Trevor says the priority is now to keep the business going for the sake of the 15 employees and their families.

Rioters also targeted their shop next door, hurling bricks through the plate-glass windows.

Windows can be repaired, but repairing morale will be harder.

The sight of the remains of the flagship store will be a constant, and painful, reminder of Croydon's night of mayhem.

Walking around Croydon town centre many roads remain taped off by police, as fire crews continue damping down two buildings hit by Monday night's disturbances.

Shops including Argos, Maplins, Lidl and Iceland had their windows smashed and a number of smaller shops have also been targeted.

The shell of a burnt-out bus and a burnt-down bus shelter remained along with a lot of confusion. Several roads are blocked off and many buses are diverted.

One West Croydon resident, who did not want to be named, said: "Look at Croydon, look what they have done. They are just all mindless idiots wanting to nick something.

"This has nothing to do with what happened in Tottenham."

image captionRioters set fire to cars in Ealing

Leafy and affluent Ealing seems a long way geographically and socially from the borough of Tottenham where the trouble first flared.

Upmarket chain restaurants, coffee shops and even a wholefoods market are sweeping up broken glass after their windows were smashed by rioters.

A traffic cone is embedded in the shattered glass at the entrance of a shopping centre.

Bewildered commuters heading into central London from the Underground station are using camera phones to take pictures of the debris littering the streets.

They are all asking: why did the violence spread here?

One resident, Paulo, looked on as the burnt-out wreckage of his blue Mercedes was lifted onto a truck to be taken away.

The night before he had watched helplessly from his flat as the vehicle was torched.

"There was nothing I could do. The car just exploded. This all feels so wrong," he said.

image captionSome have been at Clapham Junction since the morning to help up with the clean up

There is a sense of a community coming together in this busy commuter hub of south London, with locals armed with brooms and brushes, bin bags and gloves; rallying to show their support for shop owners and local businesses.

Some have been at scene since 0900 BST. Heather Taylor, 33, who lives in the area, says she took to Twitter to try to gather support for a community clean-up at 0100 BST.

"I tweeted that people who wanted to help should meet at 9am outside Nandos," she said.

"About 50 people turned up. Since then, about 400 people have arrived or got in touch.

"There are a lot of people afraid here, this is a chance for people to feel safe and take back their streets."

Teachers Debbie Adams, 31, and Rachel Jennings, 31, and business owner Matthew Haines, 34, who all live in Clapham Junction, have come down with brooms three times.

Ms Adams said: "It was important to us to help with the clear up, we wanted to get into the community spirit and do our bit."

It is not just local residents who are in on the action. Most of the shops remain closed but M&S has been handing out free cookies and sweets, while Starbucks has coffee for cleaners.

This morning there was an obvious sense of shock and disbelief from local residents, but this afternoon the dominant feeling was one of resilience and defiance.

Just before 1400 BST, there were cheers from the crowds as firefighters finally left the scene of a party shop which had been set alight by rioters on Monday night.

Those that had gathered for the clean-up operation waved their brooms in the air in celebration.

It may take more than a few sweeps for shopkeepers and local businesses to recover from the violence and looting that destroyed many of their properties, but it seems that local residents are determined to help restore confidence in the community.

Crowds of locals have gathered here at police cordons in Clapham Junction to see for themselves the aftermath of last night's violence.

image captionResidents survey the damage at Clapham Junction

The feeling amongst many is simply of disbelief at the devastation.

Most shop windows have been smashed and debris scattered across the road in this affluent area.

Firefighters are continuing to dampen down two shops and the flats above them, which were set ablaze last night.

Eye witness Sean Fitzpatrick said: "I saw about 300 kids congregated outside Lavender Hill police station, taunting the police to come out.

"They even tried to smash a charity shop - that is low."

One female shopkeeper I overheard just said: "London has turned into a zoo".

Police inspectors have been assessing the damage and taking images with police cameras of these streets, which are now considered a crime scene.

Residents and shopkeepers are not being allowed to return to their properties until later today.

The clear-up operation hasn't even started yet, but locals are already worrying about what will happen tonight.

image captionRioters attacked an unmanned police station in Handsworth, Birmingham

The devastation that hit Handsworth on Monday night remains apparent to residents and shopkeepers on the morning after.

People trying to get to work on Tuesday are driving past burnt-out cars on Soho Road, shops and banks with smashed windows, and streets covered in the debris of rioting the night before.

Shopkeepers have said they were warned that groups of lads were coming along Soho Road on Monday evening.

They pulled their shutters down to try and protect their stores but not all were successful.

Firefighters remain outside Lloyds TSB which was broken into and set on fire at about 05:00 BST.

A Bank of India nearby was also attacked and a window smashed.

People have said their biggest hope is that there will be no repeat of the rioting and looting on Tuesday night.

Burnt-out cars. Melted wheelie bins. Smashed shop windows. And all this more than 100 miles from London.

image captionTrouble flared in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol

I've just had a good look around the centre of Bristol - and the aftermath of last night's trouble is clear to see.

In the Stokes Croft area - where there were riots against a new Tesco store earlier this year - several shops including the Tesco have been targeted.

And a few hundred yards away, in the smart Cabot Circus retail centre, a jewellery shop was looted.

Shattered glass is being replaced with temporary hardboard.

Volunteers are joining the professional crews in clearing up the debris. They are making good progress.

What has happened here is nothing like as dramatic as what we have seen in London.

There are no fires burning here. The police seem to have been prepared, and the violence was contained to a small area. It involved relatively few trouble-makers.

But in a city which has seen several "flashes" of unrest in recent decades, there is definite unease - and some fear - about what might follow.

Bristol sees itself as a laid-back kind of city - but today it does not feel relaxed.

Driving around the city you would hardly know there had been a major disturbance here less than eight hours ago.

The roads have been swept and commuter traffic has been travelling into the city as normal.

But if you know where to look, the signs of the trouble are there.

The burnt-out car in Wilder Street, the boarded-up window of McDonald's in Cabot Circus, both indicate the uglier truth.

The scars on Bristol are not as vivid as those in London but on Monday night it seemed just as real.

It was all very tense with stones and bottles being thrown but this time police very definitely had the upper hand.

We saw a jewellers, which had its windows broken, but the rest of Cabot Circus was remarkably unscathed.

It has now emerged though that the Bristol City v Swindon Town match, which was going to be played at Ashton Gate later, has been cancelled for safety reasons.