Retailers are now picking up the pieces of their businesses which were hit during the recent rioting that brought chaos to many major English cities.

Many retailers stood up to the rioters themselves as police resources became stretched. Kiran Bhowan defended his East London store with a cricket bat after looters tried to steal tobacco. "It was frightening and I'm still shaking," he said.

Opinion 

Everything had been taken by the looters there was nothing left. I didn't really want to re-open the store afterwards, but I had to do it for the good people of Hackney who have supported me throughout this." 
Siva KandiahClarence Convenience Store, Hackney, London 

"We wanted to stay open for the sake of the community, but were prepared to close the shop and get customers out the back quickly if it kicked off again. We had members of staff patrolling the streets in case the rioters came in our direction." 
James BrundleSpar Walthamstow, London 

"The looters took all of my tobacco and alcohol stock after smashing my front window. It'll take a long time for me to recover from this." 
Krishna Aruluban Nisa, South Croydon

Murat Deniz, who runs Mini-market newsagents in Barnsbury, North London, said his shop had been looted by 30 people and suffered more than £1,000-worth of damage. "I've had to borrow money to restock the shop just to keep it open," he said. "It is a worrying time."

On the second night of disturbances Murat spent the night at his shop to protect it. "I have a family to look after and can't afford this damage," he said.

In West London, the Ealing Green Local store was set ablaze by raiders, although nobody was injured, while in Birmingham Spar Paradise Forum was raided over two consecutive nights. On Monday last week a gang of 25 stole stock and the store owner's laptop, and the following night raiders ripped out the cigarette gantry.

Retailers without insurance have been urged to make a claim under the Riot Damages Act. The government has extended the time frame for claims from 14 to 42 days, in a move welcomed by the ACS.

The government also announced a £20m high street support scheme to help affected retailers and a separate £10m fund to help rebuild communities. The cost of the damage has been put at more than £200m.

Suppliers have also offered support to affected retailers. Minesh Patel of Quick Stop Express in Croydon praised Smiths News for its flexibility on returns, while PayPoint has pledged that its agents won't be subject to the usual remedial procedure or charges if they fail their Direct Debits as a result of the riots.

Riot-hit retailers in need of help can call HMRC (0845 366 1207), Caravan (08088 021 122) or Sweet Charity (020 7404 5222).


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