An employee of a hotel close to the distribution center described to BBC News what he’d witnessed.
“I went around to investigate and saw the door smashed in and a group of about 20 lads just came out with loads of Sony stuff like Wiis and consoles and stuff like that…..and as they were running off one of them punched me,” Tommy Thompson said.
He added: “I went back to work to tell everyone what was going on and a few minutes after that the whole building was ablaze.”
In another call to BBC radio’s Rhod Sharp, Thompson said that the looters escaped from the distribution center on foot and on BMX bikes because “they’re too young to drive.”
Trouble first flared in the city on Saturday night following a protest against the fatal shooting of a man by police in Tottenham, north London.
The social unrest, which some claim has been fueled by social networking sites, has so far involved looting, the starting of fires and attacks on police. It has continued each evening since Saturday’s protest, and on Monday night spread to other parts of the country, including Manchester and Birmingham.
British PM David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson are both cutting short their respective vacations to return to the country.
London’s Metropolitan Police, which is deploying more than 1,700 officers to try to deal with the situation, called the ongoing civil disorder “simply inexcusable.”