Bricks are thrown at police on riot estate

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The Independent Online
RIOT police moved on to the streets of the Hartcliffe Estate in Bristol last night after youths on pelted a police van with bricks following the arrest of a man who had been taunting officers.

Scores of riot police with dogs charged at about 10.30pm to clear Symes Avenue, the street where shops were looted and smashed in two previous nights of rioting. A car set on fire near the avenue belched black smoke over the area. A garage was also torched.

About 100 people had gathered in and near the street and stood in clusters, some armed with rocks and bricks.

A police helicopter with a searchlight hovered overhead as police confronted residents in a series of 10 stand-offs at various points around the estate. Stones were thrown on police on foot and in vehicles. There were 13 arrests, five for alleged possession of offensive weapons.

The chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, David Shattock, visiting the trouble spots, described the situation as 'tense but calm'.

All four public houses on the estate had been closed voluntarily by their landlords yesterday. The worst of the earlier trouble occurred after closing time. Many residents living above the shops in Symes Avenue left their homes to stay with friends.

Mr Shattock had said earlier that he was appalled by Friday night's 'orchestrated and horrific violence'. Outsiders had gone into Hartcliffe to exploit the tension, he said.

The rioting began after two local men, Shaun Starr and Keith Buck, died when the stolen police motorcycle they were riding collided head-on with an unmarked police car. The mothers of both men appealed for calm yesterday.

Anil Saroe, the owner of Changes clothes shop, said: 'It's got nothing to do with the deaths of those two young men anymore. It's troublemakers from outside. Hartcliffe was starting to build up a good reputation before this, but it's in ruins now. They tried to torch my place last night, but the woman living above begged them not to because of her children.'

Many traders appeared near the end of their tether. Neil Derrick, owner of the Bread Basket bakery, where Mr Buck worked, has decided not to re-open.

The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Barry Rogerson, visited the estate yesterday and said he was saddened by what he saw. 'The community has been working hard to build up the quality of life.'

He said that the reasons behind the violence were complex. 'There are so many problems here - the level of unemployment, the quality of housing and the deprivations on the estate. We mustn't give up on estates like Hartcliffe. It's possible for good things to happen here but we have to work together.'

Rage of the have-nots, page 24