Looting gangs target Bromley town centre

Staff at Richer Sounds clean up after the trouble

Staff at Richer Sounds clean up after the trouble

Terrified residents told of gathering their ‘most important’ possessions together fearing they would be forced to flee their homes as scores of youths smashed up shops in Bromley.

Small independent businesses were targeted alongside chain stores including Argos and Costa Coffee in Market Square on Monday night as gangs of looters attacked the town centre.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, shop assistant Surinder Bungar, 50, who lives in a flat above Market Square, said: “There were about 40 or 50 young people who were all shouting. Police were trying to block them off by Primark but they kept coming back. They were throwing things.

“I was very scared. I have lived here for three-and-half and never seen anything like this. My friend and I sat on the bed and watched. We got a few of our most important things together in case we had to leave. But good health is more important than possessions.

“I was too scared to get to my car outside. I am in two minds about whether to stay tonight.”

Earlier on, at around 5.30pm, an officer told the Times that all police were ordered to stay on duty for the forseeable future.

Violence in neighbouring boroughs Lewisham began on Monday afternoon as rumours began circulating on Twitter and forums that it was expected to spill over into Bromley.

Owner of Paul’s Hairdressing, Paul Polyviou, was told by his neighbour that his shop was being looted at around 10pm. His windows were smashed and stock including expensive hair straighteners were stolen.

He said: “There were loads of kids being dropped in cars off by Kentish Way. I don’t know why they targeted us. It’s bad enough already for small shops.

“It’s going to hit us hard. Quite a few people have cancelled appointments already because they don’t want to come to Bromley. I am worried about tonight.”

Surveying the damage on Tuesday morning, mother-of-three Natalie Vincent, 42, passing through Market Square, said: “It’s frightening. They are jumping on the band wagon.”

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