UPDATE: Looters strike Ilford Lane jewellers and stores

Residents hid in their homes as gangs of youths roamed along Ilford Lane last night, looting a jewellery store .

A shopkeeper was forced to defend his shop with his family from youngsters at 7.30pm yesterday, saying police were slow to respond to the unrest.

Nearly all businesses closed early in the afternoon and shutters were dropped before gangs of “40-50” young people descended on the area from 4.30pm.

Shopkeeper Junaid Khan, 23, said BB Fatima cash and carry, his family business, was one of only three businesses that remained open in the normally bustling street.

He told the Recorder: “When they came down the road these kids smashed some watermelons outside. We weren’t going to take that so we closed the shutters and twenty of us stood outside to protect the shop. Nobody tried anything then.

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“There were different groups of about 50 teenagers. I know about three other shops that were smashed.”

The supermarket had sold out of cigarettes and other goods as people travelled as far as Forest Gate to find an open store.

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Mr Khan added: “The police didn’t turn up for two hours. It’s an absolute joke. This kids weren’t protesting, for them it was a chance to rob.”

Another father of three, of Madras Road, who was surveying the damage this morning, saw looters breaking into Danabhai Jewellers, 200m from the cash and carry. He said he and his family were forced to hide in their house from “frightening” scenes.

He said: “There were big groups here from 4.30pm, the whole street was full with about 200 people, but no police at all. About twenty of them forced open the shutters of the jewellers.

“Then everyone went inside because they said to us ‘if you come forward we’re going to hit you up,’ it was very frightening.”

Despite exaggerated reports on the website twitter, Ilford Lane was relatively clear this morning. One street sweeper said: “I don’t know what the fuss is about, this is the cleanest I have seen it here.”

Four people have been arrested in Ilford following last night’s violence, which saw sporadic looting in High Road, Ilford.

There are reports of a fire in Woodford Green which has now been reportedly put out and looting in Hainault.

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