London Riots: Ten years on from the night rioters descended on Barking

Riot police in Barking Town Centre after it was cleared of rioters on Monday

Riot police in Barking town centre after it was cleared of rioters in August 2011. - Credit: MPS

"We will not let yobs ruin our community."

That was the headline in the Post following unrest in Barking town centre during the London riots which erupted 10 years ago today (Friday, August 6).

Gangs of youths descended on the streets with hundreds of looters targeting shops including JD Sports in Ripple Road and Tesco in Highbridge Road on August 8, 2011.

Footage of a student being mugged in broad daylight in Queen’s Road by fake Samaritans became one of the most shocking incidents of the riots.

The Westbury Arms pub on Ripple Road was set alight and all that remains now is a shell of the build

The derelict Westbury Arms pub in Ripple Road was set alight during the rioting. - Credit: John Hercock

The derelict Westbury Arms was burned to the ground, cars torched and Barking Station closed by the violence.

Firefighters called to a car and bins set alight were forced to withdraw due to the threat of attack.

The Westbury Arms pub on Ripple Road was set alight and all that remains now is a shell of the build

Cars near the Westbury Arms were set alight. - Credit: John Hercock

An eyewitness described seeing hundreds of people smashing windows.

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Staff at Warren James - a jewellery shop at Vicarage Field - estimated that tens of thousands of pounds worth of stock was taken.

post front page

How the Post reported the riots in 2011. - Credit: Archant

Then-borough commander, Matt Bell, told the Post at the time: "A lot of these people were local but some had come to Barking specifically.

"Some came on foot from Ilford, on public transport and even getting dropped off in cars.

"It was the actions of officers that prevented Barking town centre being more damaged than it was."

About 100 would-be rioters gathered in Dagenham Heathway, but they were dispersed by the police.

Traders and businesses in Barking reopened the next day.

A restaurant owner in Barking Town Square planned to open despite thugs throwing missiles at windows, leaving customers seeking refuge behind the bar.

Then-council leader, Liam Smith, said: "The people of Barking and Dagenham will not be prevented from going about their business by the actions of a selfish group of yobs."

Two years after the riots in Barking, 108 arrests had been made.

Chaos and disorder gripped London during the riots with trouble flaring in Croydon, Hackney, Peckham, Woolwich, Lewisham, East Ham, Enfield, Ealing, Clapham and Brixton.

Six thousand officers had taken to the streets over the course of six days from August 6-11 in a bid to stop mob rule taking hold in London.

Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Barking

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge asks that we shop local to help our high streets - Credit: Parliament UK

Barking MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, reflecting on the riots, said: "The riots were a dark and terrible episode in our capital’s history.

"Yet sadly one decade on, a lot of the factors that led to this shocking outburst are still in place.

"Racial inequality. Aggressive policing. Underfunded youth services. A lack of good jobs for young people."

She urged the Conservative government to take real action to "level up" deprived areas like Barking and Dagenham or risk further violence in future.

A government spokesperson said: "The events of August 2011 shocked the country, and the police and courts took commendably swift action to bring perpetrators to justice.

"We’re supporting families and building stronger communities by investing £500million in safe spaces through our youth investment fund and championing family hubs to offer earlier help and support to families in need.

"We’re also introducing new measures to protect vulnerable young people at risk of being exploited – including £45m in specialist support in schools to re-engage them in their education."

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