THE streets of London erupted into chaos this week as rioting broke out across the city.
As police from Suffolk were called in to help, other local people were also caught up in the anarchy.
Jodie Elliott, 22, from Thetford, now works in London and lives in Hafer Road, Clapham Junction.
She told of the horror that unfolded on her doorstep on Monday as rioters torched buildings and looted shops: “It was undoubtedly the most scared, vulnerable and unsettled I have ever felt. When the fires started, it really hit us how serious, dangerous and completely out of hand it all was.”
Jodie, a project manager at Mediaplanet, was just streets away from a fancy dress shop in Lavender Hill which was set alight as the drama unfolded.
She said: “One of our house mates was still out as she had been playing a netball match.
“ We all decided to go out and collect her from the station, despite being told not to leave the house. There was no way she could walk back alone.”
Jodie, a former Thurston Community College pupil, said she felt ‘helpless’ as she watched teenage looters ‘tearing down the window’ of a Carphone Warehouse shop and then making off with ‘armfuls of products’.
“It was beyond anything I have ever seen before,” she said.
The rioting, which Jodie said started at about 8.30pm went on throughout the night until police arrived shortly before midnight.
“When the police arrived the residential crowd broke into cheers. All of the rioters scattered immediately but were cornered down the streets by police and the crowd.
“There was a real sense of ownership and care over the area that we live in, everyone wanted to protect it.”
She stayed inside her house, watching from a roof terrace, as the police finally began to regain control of the streets.
And she described a very different scene on Tuesday as the community rallied together to launch a clean-up of Clapham: “There was a vibrant atmosphere and it was clear we all took far too much pride in where we lived to let a situation as out-of-hand and destructive as this to deter us from enjoying what Clapham has to offer and from continuing with life as usual.”
Violent scenes of crime soon spread outside the capital and across the country as copycat riots broke out in Manchester, Birmingham and other cities on Tuesday.
Many commentators have said that the riots were allegedly sparked by a peaceful protest in Tottenham, on Saturday, following the death of suspected gangster Mark Duggan, who was shot by police in London on August 4.
An investigation into Mr Duggan’s death has been launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.