Vigilantes join 16,000 police on capital's streets

 

Shop owners across London vowed to protect their own businesses as anger over the police's inability to stop widespread looting pushed them towards setting up their own neighbourhood vigilante groups.

Inspired by reports of Turkish and Bangladeshi groups chasing would-be looters out of their neighbourhoods in east London, many shop keepers took to the streets to deter looters. Hundreds of Sikhs turned out in the Southall area last night in a collective show of force after rumours circulated that jewellery shops were going to be targeted.

In Enfield, sporadic chases occurred between a large group of people in their thirties and masked youths. Residents said they were out in a "show of strength." No violence was reported in either borough.

The news that shopkeepers were fighting back came as police investigating a large fire which destroyed The House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon arrested a man on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. The 21-year-old suspect was detained by officers last night and is being held at a south London police station, police said. And while most of the capital was quiet, it was reported at 1am that a recycling centre in Tottenham was on fire.

Many others said yesterday they too would defend their livelihoods if rioting erupted in the capital again. "We're planning to get together and defend our streets," said one 32-year-old shopkeeper from Hackney, who asked not to be named. "I don't want to take the law into my own hands but if I have to, I will."

Pictures of Monday night's rioting mainly showed police and locals conceding the streets to baying mobs which trashed shops and set fire to cars or buildings with near impunity. Yet there were instances where locals physically resisted the looters.

In Dalston, a corner of north-east London with a large Turkish community, men armed with baseball bats and sticks fought running battles with masked youths. Shop owners in Dalston said they felt compelled to arm themselves because it was clear there weren't enough police to protect the area. Many of the businesses on Kingsland Road, Dalston's main thoroughfare, do not have shutters protecting their windows and are therefore vulnerable to vandals.

"There were no police so we came out to defend ourselves," said a shopkeeper who gave only his first name, Mehmet. "I don't know if it's breaking the law but what can we do?" he asked.

In the more affluent neighbourhood of Stoke Newington further north – an area filled with boutique shops and independent retailers – there was widespread praise for Turkish people who stopped rioters.

In Whitechapel, home to Britain's largest Bangladeshi population, locals described how 70 masked rioters were chased out of the neighbourhood by Bengali youths who had gathered for evening prayers outside East London Mosque.

"There's a real sense of community here, especially during Ramadan when people are supposed to look out for each other," said Abdul Jalil, the manager of the Deshi Fish grocery store opposite the mosque. "The shutters will come down this evening but I'm going to stick around in case the rioters come into the area again."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor