Wimbledon Prepares For The Worst

Town centre shops are boarded up

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Wimbledon town centre went into virtual lockdown on Tuesday afternoon (August 9) as shops were boarded up because of fears over potential rioting.

Most of the shops and pubs closed early and the Centre Court shopping centre was among the properties which were boarded up. Merton council also closed the library early.

In Wimbledon Village, where at least two shops were targeted in an earlier outbreak, police were trying to re-assure businesses.

Elys store put out a statement on Twitter at 5.30pm on Tuesday that there were fears they would be targeted and advised people to stay away from their shop in St Georges Road.

On Monday night (August 8) the Priory and Tandem shopping centres in nearby Colliers Wood were targeted by rioters and looters, with the fire brigade being called to blazes in PC World and Mothercare.

A Merton police spokesman issued the following statement at 4pm on Tuesday: "In response to recent disorder throughout London, Merton Borough police continue to ensure a high visibility patrolling presence across our area, with teams of police officers on foot and in response vehicles.

"We're not tolerating mindless criminality. We have the plans and resources in place to tackle any further disorder, deal with normal policing and keep Londoners safe.

"We hope to provide updates and information on this site at regular points to reassure, inform and reduce the spread of false or misinformed rumours.

"In case of any emergency requiring immediate police assistance, always dial 999."

A Gold Group meeting took place in Wimbledon on Tuesday morning involving the police, council and Merton Chamber of Commerce directors to help prepare the local strategy.

By 11pm on Tuesday there'd been no reports of violence and Wimbledon town centre was eerily quiet, with many pubs and clubs shut and police standing outside the Centre Court shopping centre/station entrance.

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said: "We call on all violence to end immediately and fully expect the perpetrators of these acts to face the full force of the law swiftly. London is a great city to live in and we must not allow the few to disrupt the lives of the many law abiding citizens."

August 9, 2011