London Riots: Shopkeeper fights back against yobs: Youth, 17, admits violent disorder

A shopkeeper defended himself with a cricket bat and chased three yobs out of his store, a court heard today.

The trio kicked their way into the shop in daylight yesterday, thinking the police were too busy to do anything about it.

Today, a 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to violent disorder and burglary at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

He was caught after forcing his way behind the shop counter on Masterman Road, East Ham, because he was seen going into a property minutes later.

When police knocked on the door soon after and asked why he was out of breath, he replied: “I’m hot.”

James Bolton-Smith, prosecuting, said the teenager and his accomplices forced their way behind the counter at 3.30pm.

He described the frightening scene for the shopkeeper, Kiran Bhowan,

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saying: “This was a horrifying incident for the shop owner.

“The shopkeeper produced a cricket bat and managed to chase the three young men out of the shop before they took anything. The defendant admitted his particular part in interview and admitted trying to steal cigarettes because he thought the police were too busy to do anything.”

The boy’s solicitor, Joseph Wright, said he was of previous good character, came from a home with two parents and had acted out of character.

“It’s a real anomaly,” he said.

Acknowledging custody was likely, he said the offence “was not likely to be repeated”.

The case was adjourned for reports and the boy will reappear next Friday at Stratford Youth Court.

Speaking from his shop, Mr Bhowan, 50, said he did not want his heroism “glorified”.

He said: “It was frightening and I’m still shaking at the moment.

“It’s nerve-wracking when you have your family at the back of the shop - though fortunately they weren’t here at the time. Nothing was going through my mind when they came in - you’ve just got to make a decision.

“It had to be done, as simple as that. You have to take the first one even if 20 of them come in.

“You just can’t let them walk over you. I have had other incidents like this. Two boys came in before and sprayed a substance at me and tried to rob things but I fought with them and threw things at them and they ran off.

“I don’t want this glorified, I don’t want more people coming around.”