Residents vent anger at Boris Johnson

London mayor Boris Johnson faced a barrage of criticism from angry residents as he toured the devastation in riot-hit Clapham with Home Secretary Theresa May.





Mr Johnson, who flew back from his summer holiday yesterday as the violence escalated across the capital, said: "I want to say to everybody who runs a shop or owns a business here how very sorry I am for the loss and the damage you have suffered.



"I also want to say to the people who have been involved in instigating these riots and those who have been robbing and stealing that they will be caught, they will be apprehended and they will face punishments they will bitterly regret. They will.



"I know there are questions about the police response and police numbers. We are certainly going to be dealing with those."



Mrs May was led away by aides as a visibly-stunned Mr Johnson faced the television cameras and public wrath.



One woman told him: "I was in a salon when a brick came through the window and no one was here to defend me."



Another woman shouted at the mayor, urging him to resign.



Mr Johnson struggled to make himself heard as he said: "Tonight we are going to have a huge number of police on the streets."



He added: "It is time that people who are engaged in looting and violence stopped hearing economic and social justification for what happened."



The mayor, who was eventually guided away from the crowds and television cameras, followed other leaders by ending his stay abroad to join efforts to quell the violence that has blighted London.



The move came despite Mr Johnson's aides previously insisting he could deal with the burgeoning crisis remotely as if "he was sitting in his office".



Mr Johnson arrived at a cordon outside Clapham Junction station where members of the public gathered.



He was to greeted by the sight of a burnt-out fancy dress shop being hosed down by firefighters, surrounded by litter strewn on the streets and smashed windows.



Crowds of people armed with brooms waited for permission to enter the cordon, which covered St John's Hill and Lavender Hill, to start a clean-up operation - a movement started on Twitter.







The mayor walked the length of devastated streets, past window after window of shops that were smashed in the riots last night.



Mr Johnson received a mixed reaction veering from almost carnival spirit to anger and rage.



He managed to turn ill-feeling to positive at one point by taking hold of a broom and thanking crowds for turning out.





Mr Johnson paid tribute to the army of volunteers hoping to sweep Clapham's streets.



He said: "Thank you very much to everybody who has come here to clear up the mess.



"That is the spirit of London."









When asked by one angry resident why he had not come home from his holiday earlier, the mayor replied: "I came as fast as I could."

He said police had been overstretched but that same situation would not happen again.



Mr Johnson told the crowd: "It's time we heard a little bit less about the sociological justifications for what is in my view nothing less than wanton criminality.



"In the meantime I want to thank you all for coming along here today.



"I know you've been waiting for a long time to come and sweep up the streets."



He told waiting media: "I do not want to see a repetition of the events of last night.



"It's time for London and the majority of innocent law-abiding Londoners to reclaim their streets.



"In 2012, next year, we are going to be welcoming the world to our city and it's a great city, it's a peaceful and fundamentally safe city and when they come they will find one of the safest big cities.



"We have time in the next 12 months to rebuild, to repair the damage that has been done, to rebuild these buildings that have been destroyed.



"I'm not saying it will be done overnight, but this is what we are going to do."







The mayor blamed the situation on a "mental contagion" taking over youths' minds.

"And when it does stop they will regret bitterly what they have done."



But Mr Johnson's presence was not positive for everyone.



One elderly woman from Battersea, who would only give her name as Brenda, said she was frustrated she had not been able to hear much of what the mayor said as he had not used a megaphone.



She also said she was frustrated he spent time facing the press, rather than concentrating on people gathered to meet him.



"I desperately wanted to speak to him but I couldn't hear him," she said.



"In this day and age, he could have had a megaphone.



"He should have been prepared.



"I said to him, 'if you can't be prepared for that, how can you be prepared for all this other stuff?'."



She described confronting youths in Clapham last night as they put masks on preparing for trouble.



"I saw one group and told the community support officers about them.



"Then I saw another group and asked, 'why don't you go to the cinema?'



"They just said: 'there's nothing on!"'



Leon Fearon, 19, from Lewisham, said the mayor had not listened to the voice of young people.



"Boris needs to concentrate on what people are saying to him," he said.



"Youths don't have the minds that politicians have, they are running around stealing from shops but what else do they have?



"I'm not condoning them but someone needs to listen to them.



"They are not getting their point across in the right manner, but they need to have a way of saying something."







Home Secretary Theresa May, during the same visit to Clapham as Mr Johnson, said: "This is pure criminality, all this looting, thieving and rioting.

"What we are doing tonight is putting on double the number of police, but crucially we are arresting the people who are perpetrating crime."



She said those who had committed crimes would be identified using CCTV images which will be released, and then brought to justice.







Sarah Hutchings, 45, and sister Kelly Hutchings, 42, among the crowds joining the clean-up operation, saved their criticism for parents of those involved in the violence.

Painter and decorator Kelly Hutchings, who lives in Clapham, said: "There were about 70 kids running down the street at about 1.45am.



"They set fire to my old neighbour's Mini outside my house. There's soot from it all in my front room.



"I walked down Battersea Rise and all down everything has been smashed and robbed, even charity shops.



"I blame the parents in some ways. I phoned a friend at about 2.15am to tell her I could see her 14-year-old son outside my house. She said 'You've just woke me up'!"



Sister Sarah, who lives in west London, said she grew up in Clapham and had come to help clear up.



"I think it's diabolical, what's their mentality? They have to live on these streets as well.



"If this is meant to be some kind of protest to cuts, what have they done? Just cost a load more money. It angers me."



The mother of three added: "It's parents too. All these kids who were out here last night, where are their mums and dads?



"I have three kids and I knew where all three were yesterday afternoon and evening."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker