London: Reinforcements called to police Tottenham after riots
POLICE reinforcements have been called in today from Essex, Kent and around the Home Counties as officers try to prevent another night of violence in north London.
Scotland Yard said 26 police officers were injured during last night’s unrest in Tottenham and Wood Green, and 48 people were arrested for offences including violent disorder, burglary and theft.
A major investigation has been launched, codenamed Operation Withern.
The riots were roundly condemned as the shocked community surveyed the devastation caused.
Community and political leaders were swift to criticise the rioting, looting and arson that swept through the area after the mood at the protest turned nasty after dark yesterday.
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Buildings and vehicles including a double-decker bus and two police cars were engulfed in flames. Their burnt out shells remained in the High Road today.
Local residents were left destitute after being forced to flee their burning homes, and looters went on the rampage in Tottenham Hale Retail Park half a mile away, smashing shop windows and grabbing whatever they could.
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Teenagers and adults were said to have turned up in cars and filled their boots with stolen items, unimpeded by police, while others stuffed shopping trolleys with electronic goods. Every single handset was stolen from a mobile phone shop.
Downing Street labelled the rioting “utterly unacceptable”, while Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Such disregard for public safety and property will not be tolerated.”
Local MP David Lammy said the community “had the heart ripped out of it” by “mindless people”, many of whom had come from outside Tottenham to cause trouble.
Speaking from behind the police tape in the High Road today he said: “What happened here on Thursday night raised huge questions and we need answers.
“The response to that is not to loot and rob. There are homeless people standing back there.
“We have officers in hospital, some of whom are seriously injured. It’s a disgrace. This must stop.”
Cries of “the police want to see the place burn” greeted Mr Lammy’s speech.
The sense of anger at what the rioters and looters had done was clear among the local community today.
Nadine Knight, 24, who works in administration at a planning and architecture firm, said: “I’m completely and utterly disgusted by what the community has managed to do here.
“They need to come together a bit more and help the community, not damage it. I’m so upset, I can’t believe it.”
Christian Macani, 22, who works in environmental sciences, asked a question that was on the lips of many in his neighbourhood this morning.
“What does this achieve?” he said. “They can’t get away with this, can they? They’ve achieved absolutely nothing. It’s a joke.”
There are rumours that a 16-year-old girl had been hit by police during the troubles, which police have said they are looking into.