London riots: Court to rule if police should cover costs

Sony DADC's warehouse in Enfield Image copyright Reuters
Image caption About 25 youths smashed their way into the warehouse

Judges will decide whether insurers or the Met should pay for damage worth millions of pounds caused to a Sony warehouse during the 2011 London riots.

Mayor Boris Johnson took the case to the Supreme Court after it was ruled that under the 1886 Riot Damage Act, the police should foot the £60m bill.

Insurance firms claim all losses caused by the damage to the Enfield building are covered by the 19th Century law.

A final decision is not expected for "a few months", the court said.

The Sony warehouse was attacked on 8 August 2011 during widespread riots that followed the death of Mark Duggan in Tottenham.

More than 1.5m CDs were destroyed in what lawyers called "the largest ever arson attack in Europe".

At a High Court hearing, Mr Justice Flaux said losses totalled more than £60m, including claims of £9.8m for lost profit and £1.6m for lost rent.

Judges at the Supreme Court have been told under the Riot Damage Act, "damage by riot" should be paid out of police funds.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The warehouse fire burnt for nearly 10 days

The case at the High Court found the police should pay for the damage but not "consequential losses", such as loss of profit and rent.

However, insurers won a subsequent hearing at the Court of Appeal which found the Met should cover all costs.

After that ruling, the BBC's legal correspondent, Clive Coleman, said the decision could affect other businesses burnt and looted in the riots.

Mr Johnson, whose office funds the police, requested a Supreme Court ruling following the two previous hearings.

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