Ex-Times reporter witnesses London riots

BRITAIN is today in shock, with at least seven of the country’s major cities hit by rioting.

Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham have all now experienced civil unrest in the wake of three nights of sustained trouble in London.

Shops have been looted, buildings set on fire, and police targeted by violence as mobs reportedly look to avenge the death of a Londoner shot in a confrontation with police on Thursday.

Riots which began in Tottenham on Saturday have since spread to much of the capital, with masked mobs attacking police and destroying property.

Former Times reporter Mark Mistry, who now works in London, today told how trouble had spread to the suburb of Hackney, where he lives.

The 29-year-old, who grew up in Clevedon where his family still lives, said: “I live in Knights Close, in a housing estate just off Lower Clapton Road, where it all kicked off last night (Mon).

“This first picture shows a police car from yesterday evening on the Pembury Estate in Hackney.

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“It was left abandoned without a fire engine nor policeman in sight.

“People taking photos of the car were pelted with bottles and other rubbish by young adults, possibly aged 20 or over.

“At one end of Gouldon Road, near Clapton Pond, there’s a barricade where youths of 14 and 15 years old were walking around nonchalantly carrying rocks and other street debris.

“Rubbish bins have been set on fire and the twisted plastic turned the air fetid as it mixed with rotten rubbish.

“Residents looked on in bewilderment as the youths with their faces covered roam the streets of this estate without fear.

“There were girls as young as 10 years old on Mare Street earlier in the evening doing their utmost to kick in the glass on a shop door.

“As helicopters continue to buzz overhead news filters through of a photographer who’s been beaten and had his camera stolen.

“Reasoning behind the mindlessness of some of the violence is difficult to pinpoint.”

* Have you been caught up in the riots? Send your stories and pictures to nstimes@archant.co.uk