London riots: Ilford trader tells of terror as he fled from ‘50’ looters

A shopkeeper has described the terrifying moment he fled from a group of 50 looters as smashed their way into his off-licence.

The Recorder visited SN Food & Wine, Ilford Lane on Tuesday, a week after it was looted by up to 60 youngsters.

The 42-year-old owner Sivakulasingam Nagulan had been shutting up his store early, at 7pm, on Monday of last week when a hardcore group of 50 youths yanked up shutters and began smashing his front windows, forcing the father-of-two to flee through a fire exit and hide in an upstairs flat.

“I was very scared,” he told the Recorder. “There were people in masks and hoods. I realised suddenly that I was not safe.

“I locked the fire door behind me and ran upstairs to the flat. The noise of the bottles smashing was horrible. I was crying.”

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After the looting, his friends and family helped to keep the shop secure until police arrived.

Meanwhile, heartless thugs posted a video of the attack on the website YouTube.

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Mr Nagulan only reopened the small convenience store on Friday evening last week, after a “heartbreaking” clean-up that took him more than three days.

He estimates about �12,000 of stock was lost, mostly alcohol and cigarettes, and more than �1,000 from the till and cash box. It is the lowest point in the nine years he has run the shop with his wife.

He added: “At the moment I am scared and I am upset. Business has been right down since I reopened.

“After the thugs came and smashed the windows, local people came and grabbed things too. I think they are now too scared to come in and buy things.”

It is his wife and two children, aged 12 and 14, that he is most concerned about: “Things are still coming back to me all the time. If business doesn’t pick up again how can I support my family?”

Police, who have examined extensive CCTV from the shop, have told Mr Nagulan they have arrested two suspects in connection with the raid and they expect more arrests to be made.

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