Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

London shops close early

Shops across London closed their doors early today amid fears of further rioting.

Managers decided to shut the Southside shopping centre in Wandsworth, south London, to avoid the risk of looting and violence.

A spokesman for the shopping centre said: "At the present everything is fine. We are going to close as a precautionary measure.

"There is nothing to suggest anything untoward is going on in the area but there's a really bad vibe - a number of our retailers have already closed.

"Our customers aren't enjoying the experience and our retailers aren't enjoying the experience."

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, south London, closed early and businesses in the area were urged to shut this afternoon in case of unrest.

One police officer said they were "covering all bases" in case the rioting and looting spread.

On Ealing Broadway, Marks & Spencer, Topshop and the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre all closed early.

At Barclays bank, a sign in the window said: "Due to the current disturbances, upon police advice we have been obliged to close early. We apologise to all our customers."

In Pound Kingdom, shop assistant Nadeem Shaikh, 43, said they would also be closing early.

He said: "We have to, what are police doing? Nothing. It is not safe for shops. A lot of places have been burned down, we have no boards or shutters so we are worried about what could happen.

"No customers will come later anyway, they are frightened. The rioters will smash things and take things and the police won't stop them."

The Exchange Shopping Centre in Putney, south London, shut six hours early at 2pm under instruction from police, security managers confirmed.

The Centre Court Shopping Centre in Wimbledon, south London, shut at 2pm and many other stores in the area decided to close their doors early amid unconfirmed rumours that rioters were planning to launch an attack at 5pm.

Wimbledon town centre manager Tracy Francis said: "The individual shops are taking precautionary measures based on the advice of the police."

Many shopkeepers in the centre of Tooting, south London, shut up early for the day, fearing violence would spread to the area. Some businesses had chosen not to open at all.

Many high street chains including New Look, Iceland and Vodafone were closed. Signs in the windows of a few shops explained they were shut due to the trouble elsewhere in London.

A shop worker in an independent chemist said the threat of violence nearby was causing him to close up in the middle of the afternoon. Others chose to board up their shops.

Police community support officers stood outside Tooting Broadway tube station speaking to anxious commuters but said they were currently unaware of any problems in Tooting.

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