London riots ten years on: How was Newham affected?

Police still want to talk to more than 300 people about the riots in 2011. File picture: Lewis Whyld

A blazing fire in London during the 2011 riots. It has been 10 years since the riots erupted across the capital, including in Newham. - Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

"Our community will survive this."

That was the Recorder's headline following violence and looting in Newham during the London riots which erupted 10 years ago today (Friday, August 6).

"Hooligans" smashed windows, set fires and snatched goods from stores when rioters targeted East Ham on August 8, 2011.

Shopkeepers reportedly took matters into their own hands to protect their businesses in the unrest.

An optician in High Street North recalled five youths storming into the shop, smashing it up, then legging it out the door when the store's shutters started coming down.

He described gangs in balaclavas and face-coverings stalking the street, breaking windows at Barclays bank.

One eyewitness told the Recorder rioters were targeting chains such as Argos, NatWest and Currys in East Ham.

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MP Stephen Timms and Mayor Sir Robin Wales at Barclays Bank East Ham

East Ham MP Stephen Timms and then-mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales visit Barclays in the aftermath of the rioting. - Credit: Andrew Baker

In the aftermath, then mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: "We have to catch this bunch of hooligans, because that's all it was, a bunch of criminal hooligans."

East Ham MP Stephen Timms praised Newham's communities, adding: "I’ve heard that in some parts of Newham there were people standing by to make sure there wasn’t any looting and, if that’s happened, then I applaud that."

He called for lessons to be learnt to prevent a repeat.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown flew back from holiday in Germany to meet police, community members and MPs.

Anti-racist and police monitoring organisation, Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), called on the community not to be divided after a police officer shot Mark Duggan in Tottenham. His death is widely believed to have sparked the riots.

"It is crucial we understand how this incident has touched the nerve of a community who feel ignored and left to wallow in injustice and deprivation," NMP stated at the time.

By November 2011, a total of 125 people had been arrested in Newham by the police with 66 charged. In addition, 102 of those arrested in the borough had previous convictions.

The average age of those arrested at that time was 21. The youngest person held was 11 and the oldest arrested was 42.

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