UPDATE: Riots spread to Colliers Wood Tandem shopping centre
There were horrific scenes of looting and vandalism at a retail park as Colliers Wood becomes another target of youth violence in London.
Greedy gangs of well over 100 young people have targeted the Tandem Centre in Tandem Way, where a police van was attacked by rioters throwing bottles and rocks.
A standoff developed after 9.30pm after police withdrew from the Tandem Centre, where the rioters broke into the shops including Sports Direct, JD Sports, PC World and Mothercare.
AS IT HAPPENED:
UPDATE midnight: Emergency services are still in the area but the vast majority of rioters and looters appear to have left the area.
UPDATE 11.05pm: Activity seems to have petered out and it is believed four looters have been rescued by firefighters from PC World.
One was trapped underneath the steel shutters with others inside the store.
Craig Burnett, Senior Reporter (at the scene): "JD Sports seemed to be the worst hit by looters and there were people carrying away armfuls of stuff.
"People were sauntering about and getting all kinds of clothes. At one point people were coming up to us and asking where JD Sports was, so word had obviously got around.
"People were fighting over the same thing and swung a few punches.
"There were no police from about 10pm but to be fair, there was nothing that they could have done. There was just too many people intent on coming to Colliers Wood to wreak havoc."
UPDATE 10.45pm: The looters appear to have broken into JD Sports after nearly an hour of attrition against the store's exterior.
Paul Cahalan, Assistant Editor (at the scene): "In a strange development, there seems to be a fight breaking out between two different groups of youths.
"I don't know whether it's about territory, or if thieves have been stealing from each other, but the situation is changing every minute it seems.
"Other than people whizzing by with their loot, there are people standing around drinking and watching it as entertainment."
UPDATE 10:35pm:Firefighters are rescuing a looter who has become trapped underneath the steel shutter at PC World and it is believed that another trespasser is trapped inside.
About a dozen firefighters are trying to prize open the shutter and hold back crowds.
UPDATE 10.20pm: Mothercare has just been set on fire and thugs have broken into PC World, where many are making off with TVs and other electronic items.
John, from Balham, told us: "I can't believe it. There is widespread looting and noone is around to stop it.
"There are young boys greeting each other like it's a social occasion. It's almost like they don't think they're doing anything wrong and it's all a laugh.
"Mothercare has been done in. I saw a young girl walking off smiling with a pram and loads of toys bundled into it."
An hour ago, shop windows were also smashed in at Jessops and Coral bookmakers while the Total petrol station was looted.
UPDATE 9.55pm: Another eyewitness has said: "It's absolutely mental down here. I've just seen the kids give a police van an absolute pelting with rocks, bottles, whatever they could throw at them.
"It seems to have died down now, there's no police at all. The atmosphere is really tense and there's loads of stuff watching and wondering what is going to happen next."
Councillor Martin Whelton, Merton Council's cabinet member for communities (Labour):
"Sadly Merton has not escaped the riots given the fire at the Tandem. Hope ppl remain calm, this has been an awful night for all of London."
Councillor Richard Hilton, Merton Council Conservative Group's Education spokesman:
"Gangs looting in Colliers Wood. A few kids going past our building with stuffed JD Sports bags but faces covered and hoodies up. Shocking."
Gemma Coleman, Colliers Wood resident:
"We are in Colliers Wood, so scary. Police and firemen, fires and looters. Makes me so sick. Ruining our community."
Daniell Lander, Colliers Wood resident:
"We live behind the tandem centre. Smell of burning in the air, screaming and arguments could be heard, sounds like gangs."
James Fisher, resident:
"Mayor [Boris Johnson] still holidaying? Where are the water cannons/gas/dummy bullets? Why are we not doing anything about this?!"
Aanthony Jennings, Merton resident:
"Near me in Colliers Wood, the pathetic youths are fighting each other over the best trainers! Ashamed to be from Merton."
Did you see what happened at the Tandem Centre tonight? Do you have good pictures? Leave a comment below, call 020 8722 6335 or email reporter Omar Oakes on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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