Cops flood streets to combat threat of riots

ATTACKED  -- the Blenheim pub on Bulwell's Snape Wood Estate -- DISPIC NHUD11-2131-2

ATTACKED -- the Blenheim pub on Bulwell's Snape Wood Estate -- DISPIC NHUD11-2131-2

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A STRONG police presence flooded the streets of Hucknall and Bulwell this week to combat the threat of riots that have left the country on its knees.

Officers worked double shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday, with many remaining on duty throughout the night. ‘Specials’ (volunteer officers) were drafted in from their day jobs.

HUCKNALL'S POLICE CHIEF -- Insp Nick Butler

HUCKNALL'S POLICE CHIEF -- Insp Nick Butler

High-visibility patrols were stepped up in potential hotspots in a bid to protect the public and businesses.

Despite the efforts, small pockets of trouble flared in the Dispatch district on Tuesday night.

The most shocking involved a group, in masks, who pelted Bulwell police station on Gilead Street with stones. Two youths, aged 17 and 18, have been arrested.

The Blenheim pub, on Snape Wood Road, was attacked by a mob, while several windows were smashed at homes at Cinderhill Park in Bulwell.

In Hucknall, a Fiat car was overturned by a group of four men on Buckingham Avenue at 2 am on Wednesday.

Residents heard voices and alerted police. CCTV footage has led to a man being arrested. He is also being quizzed about the torching of industrial bins on Ogle Street on Tuesday night.

Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler, linked the crimes to the national unrest, which has caused turmoil in major cities including London, Manchester and Birmingham.

He said: “None of this is fun or funny. In these difficult times, people often make bad decisions. They get swept up in the emotion, and values become skewed.

“They need to realise that if they get caught, which they will, they are likely to end up with a criminal conviction that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Insp Butler went on to urge parents to make sure their children were not out on the streets at night during “the current climate”.

“We don’t need onlookers and crowds in areas where we are trying to operate,” he added.

“Businesses have got to carry on and people have got lives to lead. It is our job to maintain that normality.

Troubles in Hucknall and Bulwell were part of wider problems throughout Nottinghamshire.

Officers received 1,000 emergency calls on Tuesday night. More than 100 arrests were made on Tuesday and Wednesday. And 17 people have now been charged with offences.

Shops shut early in Bulwell on Tuesday as unfounded rumours about roaming gangs, petrol-bombings and attacks on stores spread across social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Scarrott, who has been co-ordinating the police operation in Bulwell and the city, condemned what he described as “gratuitous, senseless and wholly unjustified acts of wanton criminality”.

He added: “I cannot understand the explosion of mindless hooliganism and violence which is scarring our city and causing untold damage, not just to property but also to the peace of mind of the law-abiding majority.”

Bulwell council-house residents have been warned by Nottingham City Council that if they are found guilty of involvement in the rioting, they risk losing their homes.

The leader of the council, Coun Jon Collins (Lab), praised the police for the way they have tackled the troubles

In a final appeal, Insp Butler said: “If you know someone is planning to cause trouble or organise trouble, discourage them or at least let us know.”

Anyone with information about the riots or plans for orchestrated trouble should ring the police on 0300 3009999 or call the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.