London riots: ‘child gangs in Romford thwarted by police’

Children as young as 13 were spotted gathering in Romford town centre last night in what appears to have been a thwarted attempt to bring rioting to the borough.

Romford journalist Barry Kirk was in the town last night as rumours of violence circulated on social networking sites.

At one point Twitter was awash with gossip that Romford Primark, in South Street, was ablaze, but it proved to be just a rumour.

And swift action by Havering Police seemed to have defused a threatened invasion by young thugs in Romford.

Barry said: “Some children as young a 13 were roaming the town in small gangs from early evening, though appear to have been put off by the numbers of officers and police vans stationed round the town centre.

“No major incidents were reported and police were operating a softly-softly approach to the gangs.”

Facebook abnd Twitter apparently told of gangs preparing to hit Romford in the wake of the riots in Tottenham and Brixton, but a massive police presence in the Market, South Street, and the station appears to have staved off major incidents.

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The Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Michael White, said: “We are working with the police to closely monitor the situation in London, and how it may affect residents and businesses in Havering. We will do everything we can to keep the borough open for business. There has been a significant Police in presence in Romford and they did an excellent job yesterday of keeping the town calm.

“We completely condemn these acts of thuggery which have been carried out across London by these rioters.”

A gang of around 30 tried but failed to break into Debenhams in Romford Market Place.

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