August 16, 2011: Leading photo retailer Jessops was among scores of retailers ransacked by rioting looters in the UK earlier this month, as reported by UK website, Amateur Photographer, while press photographers absorbed some punishment of their own while covering the unrest.
Jessops stores in Birmingham, and Colliers Wood (south London) were attacked, with thousands of pounds of stocks stolen or damaged. Contrary to a report in Photo & Imaging News, the Clapham store – one of the epicentres of the violence – largely escaped damage thanks to its robust security shutter system.
Across St John’s Rd in Clapham, CE retailer Currys was trashed and looted.
The 4000 square foot Birmingham city centre store (pictured above right – before the riots), which Jessops says is the largest specialist camera store in the country, was revamped earlier this year. Three other Jessops stores in Birmingham escaped unscathed.
In another Amateur Photographer report by journalist, Chris Cheesman Anthony Jacobs, boss of a smaller UK photographic chain, Jacobs, has told how he stood his ground as youths smashed windows and tried to ransack the flagship Leicester store.
Mr Jacobs and his son Elliott, general manager, headed to the store responding to an alarm to find youths ‘cruising in cars… and packs on bikes’.
Fearing looters would escape with camera gear, they entered the store and remained at the scene until after the rioting died down, even though the front door and windows were smashed. (Click here for a picture of the damage.)
‘I refused to be beaten. For my own piece of mind, I wasn’t having any of it. It’s opportunistic thuggery,’ Anthony Jacobs told Amateur Photographer.
‘They were standing outside the shop having their picture taken,’ he added. (But fortunately not with Jacobs’ stock!)
Press photographers on receiving end
There were several reports of press photographers being beaten during the rioting.
A press photographer was ‘dragged to the ground by four youths and beaten’ during riots in Hackney, London, according to a message posted by a Guardian journalist on Twitter.
He said the photographer had been mistaken for a police officer.
A separate eyewitness told Sky News he had seen a photographer have a camera ‘ripped off them’ during the early evening.
Two press photographers were attacked as they attempted to document the violence in Clarence Road, Hackney, according to a Daily Telegraph reporter at the scene.
The Mail on Sunday reported that two or its photographers were ‘viciously beaten by masked youths’ during violence in Tottenham on the Saturday of the riots.
‘It is utter carnage out there. We have been beaten up quite badly and had about £8000 of equipment stolen,’ said one of the photographers.
‘We were quite discreet but as soon as we got a camera out we were set on by youths with masks who were armed with crowbars.’
COMMENT: You will note a lot of citing of sources in this story. It’s called ‘attribution’ . It’s quite painless and, like honesty, it’s the best policy – but sadly neglected on the Interweb.