In the dock: the thieves who took goods on an industrial scale
Courts sit through the night to hear 2,000 cases as police raids continue to recover massive hauls
Sunday 14 August 2011
It was the "Bad Samaritan" moment which broadcast to the world the depths to which the looters had sunk. As 20-year-old student Ashraf Rossli stood bleeding with a broken jaw after being mugged in Barking, east London, a man pretending to help him instead stole his remaining possessions from his rucksack.
Yesterday, 20-year-old Reece Donovan, from Chadwell Heath, Romford, stood in the dock at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court accused of stealing Mr Rossli's portable Sony PlayStation and Nokia mobile phone.
The student moved to the UK from Malaysia less than a month ago, after winning a scholarship to study accounting, and intends to stay despite his ordeal. His mugging was filmed by an onlooker and posted on the internet, where it has been viewed by millions around the world.
Dressed in a grey T-shirt and blue tracksuit top, Mr Donovan spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address. He will appear in Wood Green Crown Court on Friday.
The roll call of the accused since the riots began in Tottenham just over a week ago is soaring. Across the UK, more than 2,000 people have been arrested, and last night more CCTV pictures were released by police.
In Birmingham and the Midlands, 509 have been arrested. Last night, the investigation there into the hit-and-run deaths of three men led to the charging of a man and a teenager for murder. Haroon Jahad, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir all died afterbeing hit by a car in the Winson Green areas on Wednesday.
In Greater Manchester, 208 have been arrested; and in Nottingham the number detained reached 117 last night. In Liverpool, where more than half the accused are under 17, 64 have been taken into custody. A further 20 have been arrested in Gloucester.
In London, 1,225 people have been arrested so far and the Metropolitan Police expect more than 3,000 to be convicted once their investigations are concluded. Yesterday, a 33-year-old man was the fourth arrested in connection with the fire which destroyed the Reeves furniture store in Croydon on Monday. A fifth man – aged 26 – was arrested in relation to the gun murder of Trevor Ellis in Croydon on the same night.
As police continued to raid alleged looters' homes, the thieving during the riots has become clear. At one address in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, more than £30,000 in cash was recovered and a 20-year-old woman arrested believed to have been involved in looting an Armani store.
Since Thursday, courts have sat through the night to process the huge number accused of theft and violence in their own communities.
In Manchester Magistrates' Court a 17-year-old, who cannot be identified because of his age, admitted stealing an "I Love Manchester" jumper from a Vans shop in the Northern Quarter. The teenager, from Stockport, was arrested after police received a tip-off and officers recovered the blue jumper, worth £25, from his home. He was accused of committing the offence after receiving a call from friends telling him to "come into town". The young man had a previous conviction for robbery, for which he was given a conditional discharge. He will appear at the Youth Court on Friday.
Some were so ashamed they turned themselves in. Edward Adeyemi, 19, knew the game was up when he saw his face on the Greater Manchester Police website. He gave no indication of a plea when he was charged with burglary yesterday, but prosecutors said he had taken an iron drain cover out of the ground and smashed his way into the Footasylum store in Manchester's Arndale Centre.
The incident took place at the height of the disorder on Tuesday night and Mr Adeyemi was said to have led a mob into the shop, causing damage and theft of up to £3,000.
Aaron Douglas, 18, appeared in court in London yesterday after breaking into Crystal Palace Jewellers in south-east London and stealing more than £6,000 of goods. He was persuaded by his family to surrender himself at Kennington police station accompanied by his sister, City of Westminster Magistrates Court heard.
Dressed in a grey hooded top, Mr Douglas looked much younger than 18 as he stared dejectedly at the floor. There were two raids on the shop – the first by 10 males who were later joined by a gang of 20 yobs. Mr Douglas, who lives in Gibbs Square, Norwood Park, was caught on CCTV lifting up a security shutter to help other raiders in.
Denying Mr Douglas bail, Judge Nicholas Evans said: "This is a very serious offence. I accept others were doing it and several might not be before the court but, in my judgment, a sentence of custody is inevitable." He was taken back into custody and will appear in court at a later date.
The Douglas family were later seen crying outside court. The boy's father blamed the Government for not giving parents the freedom to punish their children. The 53-year-old said: "I'll tell you this about the Government, they've got it wrong."
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