In the Media

Victims' voices: rioters 'broke every window on our street'

PUBLISHED December 5, 2011

The owner of a jeweller's that has been in his family for six generations tells how rioters smashed their way into the shop

John Henn, owner of TA Henn jeweller's on Princess Street, Wolverhampton. Rioters caused more than ?5,000 worth of damage when they smashed all the shop windows; he estimates he lost about ?9,000 worth of business through the shop being boarded up:

"We watched it on YouTube; someone from the Express and Star newspaper was filming it as it happened. We were likely to be the No 1 target. They broke every window on our street. We locked up at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was not a time that you expect a disgruntled collection of characters to start smashing the place up.

"It happened around quarter to five. The police then told us not to go in and clear it up. We were expected to wait it out until the following morning.

"You have to hammer at the window glass for 20 minutes to get an impression. They were able to batter them to such an extent they were able to break though the glass. What is extraordinary is that they were able to break through to the aluminium shutters behind.

"We would like to have seen the police lay into them. Frankly, if they had handled London in a more aggressive nature [the rioters] probably wouldn't have felt that they were so immune. It is difficult to look at police overseeing commercial damage without intervening. But we even had people in Wolverhampton trying on shoes before they stole them. That's just nonsense.

"We reopened the following day. But the rest of that week was a write-off. People are now just a little more anxious about walking through the city with jewellery. But nobody should be walking the high street of anybody's city feeling intimidated.

"We've been in the city centre since 1847. The business was established by my great-great-grandfather; it's been in the family for six generations. This is just another chapter ... We are a pretty resilient mob in Wolverhampton. It won't be the last time we have issues and it certainly isn't the first." © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds