Residents and retailers slam police
Residents and retailers across the country are counting the cost of a night of rioting and looting, with some attacking police for not intervening.
In Croydon, a business that had withstood two world wars - the House of Reeves furniture store - has been reduced to smouldering ruins after rioters razed it to the ground.
Its owner, Trevor Reeves, 56, said: "The devastation is what you can see. There is nothing I can do about it now. It's disappointing that we have been tied up in a series of incidents but no one knows really why it happened."
Asked to describe his feelings towards those responsible, he said: "Sad. I'm just disappointed. It could have happened to anyone but we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Mr Reeves is the fifth generation to run the business, which employs 15 people. It was set up in 1867 by his great-great-grandfather Edwin Reeves. It was held so close to the heart of the local community that part of the town, Reeves Corner, was named after it.
Elsewhere, Giselle Asante, 57, who has owned her tailor-made clothing business in Peckham High Street in south-east London for 20 years, was in tears as she described how she was alerted to looters targeting her shop at 1am but police had still not arrived at the scene by 9am.
The shop had been ransacked, with custom-made clothes stolen, including wedding dresses which were due to be collected by brides later this week. A neighbour saw rioters force their way into the store, said Ms Asante, despite police being just 20 metres away.
Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said Catholics should pray for the youths being tempted to take part in riots and looting. The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, condemned the "shocking" scenes of violence over the past three nights in London and other parts of the country.
The archbishop said: "The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned. They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside.
"I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those whose parents are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft."