A man in his 60s suffered life-threatening injuries when he was attacked by rioters after he tried to extinguish a fire they had started in a bin, a witness said today.
The witness, who gave his name as Jim and owns Big Jim's Trims in Ealing, west London, said rioters attacked the victim when he tried to put out the fire they had started in Spring Bridge Road, near to the Arcadia shopping centre, at about 11pm last night.
Commander Simon Foy, of Scotland Yard, said: "It was quite a grave assault and his condition is causing us some concern."
Jim, 40, who owns stores on The Green and Devonshire Road, said: "I went up to Spring Bridge Road to check on my other shop and saw him on the ground.
"The rioters had set a bin alight and then they jumped on him when he tried to put it out.
"They ran away when the police arrived, and they put him in the recovery position."
He added: "There were three police there and I was told to leave.
"The bin was still on fire when I got there.
"I'd had to go all the way around the rioters to get there so I'd put a hoodie on and put the hood up and I could see them mayheming.
"I only found out later that they had jumped him.
"I could see he was wearing shorts and T-shirt, with grey hair."
The road remained closed off by police today as forensic teams examined the scene.
Several officers in white overalls, some wearing masks, could be seen taking away plastic bags of evidence and a black bin could be seen on its side in the street.
Litter covered the pavement and road near the scene, which is close to the Christ the Saviour church in Ealing Broadway.
Jim added that the rioters were also "mugging customers" in a nearby restaurant.
"Customers were sitting at the tables and they were just grabbing stuff from customers," he said.
"They were 17, 18, 20 years old."Reuse content