9 Aug 2011

London closes its shutters amid warnings of more violence

Shopping centres, high street shops and other businesses have closed early across the capital as police warn of a fourth night of disturbances.

High street shops and pubs have closed early in many areas of the capital as a precaution.

Shops have closed early across London on the advice of police as the capital braces itself for more violence.

Despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise that as many as 16,000 officers will be deployed on the streets overnight, rumours that rioters are planning more disturbances have intensified.

Major shopping centres in south west London including Centre Court in Wimbledon, Southside in Wandsworth and Putney Exchange all said they had closed early on Tuesday on the advice of police.

But internet rumours of other shopping malls closing early proved unfounded.

A spokesman for Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, said: “We would like to reassure our shoppers, staff and retailers that Westfield London is open as usual and reports of disturbances are inaccurate.

“We have a police and Westfield Security presence on site in light of the current situation across London, and we are working closely with the Metropolitan Police to monitor the situation.”

And Transport for London said rumours that they had closed some stations in anticipation of violence were untrue.

High street shops and pubs have closed early in many areas of the capital as a precaution.

Police confirmed they had offered specific advice to retailers in certain areas to close after receiving intelligence about potential trouble, but declined to list all the areas where they had contacted shops.

A spokesman said: “We do not order businesses to close. This is advice and a lot of that advice is based on intelligence that we have received.”

The women’s clothes shop Jigsaw said it had shut branches in Wimbledon, Birmingham and Whiteley’s Shopping Centre in Queensway, west London. Department store Debenhams announced early closures in Wimbledon and Eltham, south east London.

Both chains said they had made the decision following advice from the police.

At least one pub in the Victoria area said it had decided not to open tonight on police advice, and employees at an office block in nearby Victoria Street were sent home early on Tuesday afternoon.

Supermarket chain Waitrose has closed branches in Clapham Junction, Wandsworth, Putney, Balham, Wimbledon, Croydon, Holloway Road and Raynes Park, after receiving police advice.

And gym chain Fitness First announced on Twitter that it had been advised by police to close all its clubs within the M25 by 6pm on Tuesday.