EXCLUSIVE: Flaming missiles thrown at customers in St John’s Wood riots
The riots blighting London came to St John’s Wood in the early hours of Wednesday morning when a gang of 30 hooded knife-wielding youths attempted to set fire to two caf�s.
Masked yobs hurled bottles, chairs and flaming cloth balls at customers sitting outside Le Bijou in Lodge Road at about 12.30am while others attempted to set fire to the awning around the caf�.
They then moved round the corner to Rym Caf� in Park Road where they brandished knives and allegedly stole money from a customer before being chased off by brave employees.
Police were on the scene within minutes and arrested 18 youths.
Le Bijou’s owner said: “Customers were sitting outside and the guys started lighting bits of cloth and launching it at them.
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“Some of the others were grabbing big bottles of water from the shop next door and throwing it at them as well.
“The staff managed to get all the customers inside and shut the door but one of the guys threw a chair at the window and smashed it.
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“They tried to torch the place but thank God no-one was hurt. Everyone was really scared.”
After failing to set the place alight, the group turned their attention to the nearby Rym Caf� where customers were also sitting outside.
Police are linking the two incidents with the riots which have been taking place across London since last Saturday night.
The violence also hit parts of Westbourne Green and Bayswater on Monday night when yobs ran riot attacking police as well as smashing and looting shops.
Police in Queensway came under attack from missiles and petrol bombs, while a police vehicle in Westbourne Park Road was attacked by rioters.
A number of pubs, including the Walmer Castle, were targeted in both areas and many shops were totally cleared out amid the carnage.
The manager of the Prince Alfred pub on Queensway said his customers, including young children, hid under tables to escape the violence as bricks were thrown at the pub’s windows. “There were people on the streets throwing everything they could get their hands on,” he said.
“There was a massive group surrounding the pub and it was very worrying because we didn’t know what they wanted to do. We had lots of families with children and they were so scared.”
MPs and councillors have condemned the rioters’ behaviour with Westminster Council confirming it will look to evict social housing tenants convicted of rioting.