Croydon riots: 144

IT had been in the family for five generations – an enduring symbol of stability, a unique link with the past and a well-known local landmark. But yesterday the House of Reeves furniture store had disappeared for ever after literally going up in smoke. A marauding mob of lawless yobs did in one night what the Zeppelins and Luftwaffe failed to do in two world wars – and razed it to the ground. Last night devastated boss Trevor Reeves choked back his anger and frustration as he surveyed the charred shell of the iconic corner store in Croydon, South London, that was his life and livelihood. He had watched helplessly as the 144-year-old building was engulfe

d by flames after being torched in the rioting that has swept the capital. Firefighters battled to save it, but in the cold light of day it was clear that what little remains will have to be demolished. Trevor, 56, said: “Words fail me. It’s just gone – five generations of hard work. My father is distraught. It’s just mindless thuggery. The result is there for everyone to see and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Asked how he felt about the arsonists, he said: “Sad. I’m just disapp

ointed. It could have happened to anyone but we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He added: “The shop has provided for my family and the 15 or 20 staff and families that we supported, now that’s all been completely wiped out.” Mr Reeves is the fifth generation to run the business, which was set up in 1867 by his great-great-grandfather, Edwin. It was held so close to the heart of the local community that the part of town where it stood was named Reeves Corner. Trevor’s brother Graham, 52, said: “Our lives are destroyed, it will probabl

y be someone else next week. It’s horrendous... 35 years I’ve be

en here.” His voice cracked

with emotion as he added: “Everything is gone, we’ve got nothing left. I was in the Brixton riots but this is worse. My life is destroyed.” Croydon riots: Man arrested over Reeves furniture store fire Locals said the rioters, aged 15 to 16 and wearing hoodies and balaclavas, were laughing as they ran amok. Nurse Sharon Tugwell, 50, said: “I think they just did it for the fun of it. I’m lost for words because that place has been around for more than a century.” Computer engineer Ian Somerscales, 53, added: “I feel like I’m in another part of the world, like Baghdad. The shops shut up early and everyone knew something was going to happen but I didn’t think it would be on this scale. It’s disgusting.” Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell said: “I’m sickened to see this happening in my town. My first instinct is sympathy for the businesses and residents who have been directly affected by what’s happ2020第71期老版跑狗图 ened. “The people responsible for this wanton destruction need to be brought to justice.” Croydon wasn’t the only place left scarred by the rioters. Similar scenes were repeated in Tottenham, Enfield and Peckham. Pub landlord Alan McCabe raged: “I’ve never seen such disregard for human life. I hope t

hey rot in hell. The grief they have caused, the fear they have put in the hearts, of decent people who have done nothing to anyone.” Last night, as a 21-year-old man was held on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life over the Reeves blaze, Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said: “We understand the level of distress. Anyone who saw Mr Reeves on TV and didn’t have a lump in their

throat is not a human being.” London

Mayor Boris Johnson, who was heckled as he spoke to those facing huge bills for the clean-up, said: “It’s heartbreaking to see what good, local businesses like the Reeves family have suffered last night.” There were similar stories from many other riot-hit areas yesterday. Mike Caine, 48, told how six young looters used sledgehammers to smash their w

ay into his clothes shop, Raffles, in Blackheath, South East London. He said: “I went to get an iron bar to defend myself and one of the gang pulled out a big carving knife and snarled, ‘Bring it on’. I was petrified. Then they just casually climbed back into their cars and drove off.” Sivaharan Kandiah, 39, was horrified when he turned on the TV – and saw his Clarence convenience store in Hackney, North London, being looted. He said: “I have lost everything, I have nothing left. I gave so much and was so trusting... this is my reward.”

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