PEOPLE from across the region caught up in the London riots have spoken of their fear as violence and unrest engulfed the capital.
Hundreds of people have been arrested and thousands of extra police offices are being drafted in following the rioting which flared at the weekend.
Buildings have been damaged and set on fire while shops have also been looted in what has been described as criminal activity which has spread to other cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.
Emma Louisa-Lloyd, 29, of Penycae, now lives in Croydon. Her father Phil used to run the Turf pub next to The Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.
The former Ysgol Bryn Offa pupil said: “It is scary at the moment. Nobody is going out their front doors. It is one big massive crime scene. All the local shops have been looted and set on fire.
“My friends have been evacuated. We are too scared to leave the house. Croydon looks like a war zone. The High Street here is just like Wrexham, but there is no glass left in the windows. On Monday night there were clouds of black smoke.
“My family have been concerned about my safety, and have sent me messages to see if I am ok. It makes you want to come home.
“We do not know why they are doing it. Those involved are enjoying it, they are laughing as they do it.”
Emma said a riot warning had been put in place from 1pm on Monday afternoon.
Alex Ballard, a former reporter with NWN Media, now lives in London.
He said: “There is a real feeling of concern because people do not know where it is going to happen next. Trouble is cropping up everywhere. It feels like parts of the city are in chaos. The people doing it are laughing about it.”
Two University of Chester graduates living near the shocking scenes of rioting have also spoken of their ordeal.
Riad Pheerunggee, formerly of Bouverie Street, Chester, said he was worried about a number of friends and family members who had been caught up in the chaos.
The 27-year-old said the city was like a “war zone”, with many people he knew unable to leave their houses for fear of violence.
Riad, who works for British Airways, said: “My mum works at a hospital in Hackney, one of the worst areas. She said there are loads more police about and more and more youths coming through.
“It is really difficult to get around because a lot of underground stations have been closed. It has caused a lot of people problems just getting to work.”
He added: “The riots are spreading. So far it is not in the area where I live but who knows what could happen?”
Yan-kay Cheung, a wedding planner who used to live off Bridge Street, Chester, said riots were taking place only a 10 minute walk away from her house.
The 30-year-old said: “My brother-in-law called Me – He works in High Street, Kensington, and said windows were smashed and a bus was set on fire.
“That is central London, you would never expect that. I have been calling friends and family to let them know we are fine.”
Yan-kay, who is originally from Spain, added: “A lot of the Spanish community have settled in areas like Croydon where the rent is cheap. A lot of them are scared and are going back to Spain for safety reasons.
“I am completely shocked because London is supposed to be the capital of the world. This is so embarrassing for our country and it is just unbelievable this is happening here.”
Josh Byrne, 21, a former pupil of Christleton High School in Chester, now works for independent record label Studio Records in London. He witnessed the growing tensions on the capital’s streets after he attended a music festival in Brixton.
He said he felt tension throughout Sunday at Splash Carnival following riots in Tottenham just 12 hours earlier.
Josh, originally from Vicars Cross, Chester, said he saw police amid the mainly peaceful crowd at about 6pm, shortly before the event was due to end.
He said: “The riot vans screeched through and they switched the music off and barricaded the streets, so me and my friend tried to find a way out. There was a tower block behind where we were and about 50 people from the estate were shouting at the police and it turned out someone had been stabbed.”
Reliving the horror, Josh added: “My friend works at the Ritz cinema in the middle of Brixton and he was locked in there by the police until about 4am or 5am – they wouldn’t let them out for their own safety.”
Josh remained indoors on Monday night, when further rioting erupted.
A former pupil of Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersyllt has also seen looters ransacking shops in London.
Robert Forbes, 31, has been living in London for about 10 years and runs a wealth management company.
“On Sunday night and early Monday morning I could hear people smashing into shops, which were about 100 yards away It seems sporadic. The looters appear to be young and are looking for places where there aren’t any police around. You can have a situation where there is no one in the streets then a few people run along and police cars turn up."
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