Monday’s targets were not indiscriminate: pricey stuff was nicked where possible but looters made no distinction between independent family run small business and multinationals/ chains
If I had a pound for every time I’d heard Ealing described as “leafy” in the last couple of days I’d have quite a few quid by now. But since the 1967 local government reorganisation Ealing is not just a town it’s an entire borough that as Ealing Brodway Councillor Ian Potts (Con) explained to a Danish reporter interviewing both of us on Tuesday, it has 320,000 residents and is in excess of some 7 miles across, including various towns: Acton, Greenford, Hanwell, Northolt, Southall etc and its share of deprivation. There are also other unleafy bits of Ealing other than the W5 nucleus. West Ealing W13 over which the postwar concrete Green Man and Sherwood Close estates loom is often described as the “poor cousin” to Ealing Broadway. I’ve blogged before on how retail there has declined leaving empty premises and pound shops anyway but it’s in an even worse state now. On Monday night looters targeted high value goods where they could. In West Ealing yesterday the following were open despite damage:
– Wilkinsons: boarded up but trading. Staff said all perfumes had been taken plus DVDs and Ipod accessories. They went for tills and cashpoint but no money was on the premises
– Sainsburys: looters had tried and failed to enter, contrary to Twitter reports
– Cycle shop guy (London Joggers) said “they got in and took a couple of bikes”
– 99p Store: smashed glass, nothing taken
– Specsavers: 300 pairs of glasses frames lifted (??!)
Also carrying on behind boarded up facades: Boots, 2x charity shops and “The Bargain Store” (rugs/ furniture).
Completely closed/ boarded up: Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U and Blockbuster video. Saddest of all was Seba Electronics run by an elderly Indian couple for almost 40 years – reportedly completely cleared out.
Rightwing blogger notasheep puts it well:
Seba Electronics has nothing to do with the Government’s cuts (such as they are), Seba electronics has not closed any local council services, Seba electronics has not oppressed the youth.
Of the court cases reported so far two have had Ealing significance: Jason Akinole, a 22-year-old leisure centre worker from west Kilburn, was accused of violent disorder and stealing a quantity of Seiko watches from H Samuel on Ealing Broadway and unemployed David Benjamin, 25 from Hammersmith, was accused of looting a Blu-ray player from Seba Electronics in west Ealing as part of a group of 50 who looted about £200,000 worth of goods from the store. Both then were from out of the borough, suggesting that the looters were not all local and/or unemployed and hotspots had been strategically chosen for access/ retail profile.
The answer to the question “why?” is obviously a combination of reasons with consumerism/ greed/ inequality/ poor parenting all bubbling along. Mattock Lane W5 where cars were smashed up and homes broken into on Monday shows how crazy London house prices have become. The price of a chunky semi is £3million and even a flat in the further flung W13 bit could set you back half a mill although that’s no excuse for the awfulness on Monday night of a pensioner resident from the road describing to a SKYNews reporter how she’d woke up at 2am to find a hoodie menacing her at the bedside. Scary stuff.
The WestEalingNeighbours site comments “I just hope that the looting isn’t the final straw that finishes off any of our local businesses. Times are more than tough enough without looting by people who don’t care about our neighbourhood or anyone’s else’s neighbourhood.”
Lastly booksops were left alone: they did over Oxfam music and audio but not the Oxfam bookshop on Ealing Green. Retweeted several hundred times was the notice in Waterstones Ealing’s window which gets the last word:
“We are staying open and if they steal our books they might learn something”.