Extra police sent to riot-hit estate

Violence in Luton: 'Outsiders' blamed as mob attacks officers

More than 250 police officers were drafted into the Marsh Farm Estate in Luton yesterday after two nights of rioting. A police spokesman said: "It's hot, it's sticky, people are angry. Anything could happen."

Five people will appear at Luton magistrates' court today on charges including theft and violent disorder arising from Thursday night's riot. Ten people remain in police custody.

Early yesterday, crowds of up to 500 people, mainly teenagers, attacked police with bottles, bricks and petrol bombs in five hours of disturbances. A supermarket was ransacked, the windows of a library shattered and courtyards and car parks littered with debris. More than pounds 16,000 of damage has been caused.

One police officer who had been sent with a contingent from the Metropolitan Police to help Bedfordshire officers contain the riot was stabbed. His body armour saved him from serious injury. Alan Dyer, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire, is said to have ordered 140 sets of body armour for officers yesterday at a cost of pounds 140,000.

Estimates of the number of people involved ranged originally from 100 to 200 but police said yesterday afternoon that there could have been as many as 500 rioters.

A Bedfordshire Constabulary spokesman could not confirm that rioters had laid an ambush for officers and lured them to it with a hoax call, but he admitted: "That wouldn't surprise me at all. It is pretty standard practice in a riot situation."

Fr John Belither of the local Anglican church spent four hours yesterday morning following the movement of the riot through the estate in his car. "I am shocked and saddened by what I saw," he said. "There is certainly a hard core of youngsters responsible for the trouble but it is by no means the majority of people on the estate."

Despite similar riots which lasted for four consecutive days in 1992, the Marsh Farm Estate, according to residents and Luton Town Council, is not a "problem area".

Some residents believed the riots had been provoked by the arrest of a 13-year-old boy said to have absconded from a young offenders' institution. They criticised the police for "heavy-handed tactics". Others thought the police had been too restrained and had let the riot get out of control.

Colin Brown of the Luton Independent Residents' Association said he thought the violence was planned and that rioters had come in from other areas.

Another resident said: "I do a lot of work in this community here and all the lads I talked to today said they didn't recognise hardly any of those who were rioting. When the circus is in town, you are going to go to it, aren't you?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there