Longfordians caught up in this week’s British riots have spoken of their shock at seeing dozens of looters, some as young as 14, raiding shops and damaging businesses in some of the UK’s biggest cities.
Brenda Armstrong, who is the daughter of Lily and the late Frank Armstrong, said many people are still nervous about the level of tension that still exists despite a night of relative calm.
A resident of Purley on the outer fringes of Croydon in South London, Ms Armstrong said she was shocked to witness at first hand the level of violence and disorder that has swept across Britain over the past seven days.
“Last night (Tuesday) was quite quiet but who knows what is going to happen?” she told longfordleader.ie on Wednesday.
On Monday, Ms Armstrong told of how she came within yards of some of the rioting that has gripped large metropolitan centres like London.
A music manager by profession, Ms Armstrong said she was on a visit to check on her 82-year-old mother, when suddenly a group of masked raiders began running down the street.
“A lot of them (rioters) had what looked like televisions under their arms and other items they had stolen. It was quite horrific to see,” she said.
So far, police have arrested over 1,400 suspects across some of England’s most heavily populated cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester.
In a bid to cope with the huge strain on resources, courts have sat through the night in the worst affected areas in order to process hundreds of cases.
Critics have blamed much of the unrest on stringent austerity measures imposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition, prompting under fire British Prime Minister, David Cameron to dismiss the ringleaders as nothing more than opportunistic criminals.
This morning (Thursday), Mr Cameron conceded senior police figures had admitted to him that they got their riot tactics wrong, during an emergency recall of parliament.
Speaking openly on the subject and since the violence first erupted last Saturday, Ms Armstrong agreed with the Conservative leader.
“What did surprise me when we were driving through was the complete lack of police along Purley Way. I think a lot of them (rioters) knew that most of the police had been deployed in the Croydon area which meant they could do what they wanted,” she said.
The fallout from the riots is the second time in less than a month that MPs have been recalled for an emergency session following the recent phone hacking scandal at the News of the World newspaper.