Arrests after second night of city rioting

Click to follow
The Independent Online
SIXTEEN people were arrested and a policeman was slightly injured yesterday as rioting broke out on the Hartcliffe estate in Bristol for the second night running.

Youths petrol-bombed a police van in Symes Avenue, the main shopping centre badly damaged on Thursday night. Late last night trouble escalated as youths left pubs at closing time. Petrol bombs were thrown at police and a number of pensioners were moved out of their homes as scattered outbreaks of trouble continued.

During earlier violence, a 100-strong mob of youths had hurled stones and bottles and a car was set alight, leaving thick smoke drifting down the avenue. A BBC camera crew and a local press photographer were injured.

Rioting began after the deaths of two local men, killed when the stolen police motorcycle they were riding collided head-on with an unmarked police car. Yesterday angry residents said Thursday night's troubles - when a mob of more than 100 set fire to buildings and shops and stoned firemen - had been only the beginning.

Two detective constables in the Regional Crime Squad covering the South-west were suspended yesterday. Their unmarked police car, a green Rover, appeared to be on the wrong side of the road when it collided head-on with the motorcycle. Photographs show the offside wing had been damaged, supporting local people's allegations that the car had pulled over and struck the motorcycle as it was being chased by an unmarked police motorcycle.

Shaun Starr, 32, and Keith Buck, 18, were thrown through the air by the impact. They died instantly.

An officer from the Police Complaints Authority travelled to Bristol from London yesterday to oversee an inquiry by the Avon and Somerset force. It will seek to establish why Regional Crime Squad officers were pursuing a stolen vehicle.

A senior police source said the motorcycle's theft from a regional crime squad detective's home was obviously a 'source of acute embarrassment'. Officers would not comment on allegations that the officers had wanted to recover the 1,000cc BMW motorcycle, equipped with electronic surveillance equipment, 'within the family'.

The view from Hartcliffe, page 2