The financial damage will be enormous but so too will be the emotional stress caused to businesses owners who saw their premises looted, and in some cases burned to the ground around various English cities.
Graham Reave’s furniture shop in Croydon, South London, had been in the family for nearly 150 years. On Monday night he watched it go up in flames and burn down in 45 minutes.
“There’s nothing I can do about this. What’s happened has happened. All I’ve got to do is try and trade and look after my family and the people who work for us. I can’t do anything about that (the shop).. that is just mess, destruction, of my business, I’ve just got to get on, roll my sleeves up, do my best,” Reave said.
Whether or not there were underlying causes of the riots, it seems clear many people were bent on destruction, even of their own neighbourhoods. And that some were more interested in looting, as one man in Croydon explained: “About 7.30 last night there was kids running through, flatbed trolleys loaded up with 50” screen TV’s, wheelie-bins full of goods.”
He added: “I’ve lived in Liverpool, on Moss Side (an inner city neighbourhood in Manchester), I’ve lived in New York, Spain, Holland and I’ve never seen nothing like it in my life.”
Another consequence of the destruction of local businesses will be loss of jobs and therefore people’s livelihoods.