I’ve lived in Croydon for most of my life. As long as I can remember it has had bad press and thought of as a dangerous place. It’s not uncommon for there to be shootings and stabbings and a lot of it is gang related.
What happened last night was truly shocking, there have been riots in Croydon before but nothing on this scale. Local shops burnt to the ground, houses set on fire and families forced to run for their lives only to be left standing on the street to watch their memories and belongings burn to the ground.
The A23 stretches through Croydon from north to south, covering several miles and passing through a few of the smaller towns within Croydon. I’ve heard news that nearly all of the shops along it have been attacked at some point, some of them specifically so. 3 bicycles span only 3 miles on the south side of the A23 and all 3 of them have been broken into. One of them specialises in high-end road bicycles and the stock on the shop floor is worth a small fortune, one bicycle stolen was a replica team sky pinarello with full Di2 worth over £7,000. This video shows the damage to the store and one person cycling away with two bikes, both with the price tags still on. Cycle King and Bike Plus where also attacked by looters and stock taken. I’m waiting to hear back from De Ver and Evans to see if their stores where subject to attack through the night. It would appear that these shops where specifically targeted, they where broken into by small gangs and before any of the fires started and in the case of Bike Plus, it a few miles away from the town centre and is not the area that is usually associated with trouble.
I recall looking out of the window at around 9pm and seeing thick smoke rising from the town centre, shortly later it became apparent this was just the start. It was a bus that was on fire, but the rioters quickly moved onto an old furniture store which quickly went up in flames as the building was made of timber. After that plenty of buildings where set on fire, many of them with flats above them. Shops all along the A23 where broken into and looted through the night, many of them local business run by families.
The behaviour of these people is shocking and in my mind these are the people who are not welcome in this country. Unfortunately across London the police have been outnumbered, in some cases 50 to 1. We expect the police and fire services to protect our homes and communities but at present they just can’t do it!
There where rumours on twitter last night that troops from the Croydon Territorial Army base had been sent out onto the streets, it turns out that it wasn’t true. But just how long does this have to go on for before that does happen?