Town man in London riot ordeal

Poolie Paul Duxfield's photo of a burnt-out car in Hackney
Poolie Paul Duxfield's photo of a burnt-out car in Hackney

POLICE officers from Cleveland have been sent to the capital to help deal with the on-going riot problems plaguing London and other parts of the country.

Cleveland and other forces from around the UK have sent teams of officers to help colleagues from the Metropolitan Police deal with the disorder.

Paul Duxfield at a vandalised shop near his home in Hackney

Paul Duxfield at a vandalised shop near his home in Hackney

The force has moved to reassure residents that taking officers away from their usual roles will not in any way compromise policing across Cleveland, and added that despite trouble taking place in other areas, there is “nothing to suggest” any similar scenes in Cleveland.

Steve Matthews, chair of the Cleveland Branch of the Police Federation of England & Wales, said: “These are highly-trained officers who are going to assist their colleagues in a time of need.

“The Police Federation has had discussions with the force and knows that this deployment has been carefully considered to ensure the continuity of service to the public in Cleveland.

“There is nothing to suggest there will be similar problems in Cleveland.

“I know my members going to London will act with professionalism and use their skills to bring these terrible crimes to an end.”

Meanwhile, a town-born photographer, now living in London, has told how he found himself at the centre of the widespread rioting.

Paul Duxfield has lived in Hackney for eight years, and told the Hartlepool Mail he saw youths roaming the streets with helicopters hovering overhead as the trouble escalated on Monday night.

Paul, who works in photographic sales for a firm on London’s Embankment, said he opted against venturing out of his home for fear of getting caught up in the trouble.

The 43-year-old, who went to Brierton Comprehensive and still has family living in Hartlepool, said: “Like everyone else, I have been glued to the TV watching what has been unfolding.

“The only difference for me is that the sound of the helicopter hovering overhead was actually coming from above my house rather than the TV.

“I live about a five-minute walk away from where it all kicked off in Hackney on Monday night, and while I wouldn’t say I’m scared about it all, I had second thoughts about venturing out.

“I don’t have a car and I live in a third-floor flat, but there is a lot of fear from people who have their cars parked outside their homes.

“I did put the security locks on the door and I think it’s fair to say I’m being cautious.

“The problem with all of this is that it is so sporadic. There doesn’t appear to be any direction in the rioting, it is completely spontaneous and nobody knows what is being targeted.

“It could kick off outside your front door, or it could be a mile down the road.”

Paul, who lives with girlfriend Michelle Hibberd, a 42-year-old nurse, added: “Despite what’s been said, I don’t think this is racially-motivated.

“To say this is caused as the result of a social problem is a cop-out, and I also believe people are wrong when they say it is all about the lad who was killed in Tottenham.

“That may have sparked what happened at the weekend, but a lot of what happened since appears to be daft kids aged about 15 or 16 with their hoodies on, letting off steam.

“Things have been quiet on a morning for the last couple of days, but you do see the kids hovering about in gangs as the day wears on, and it’s obvious there is something happening.

“We live between the police station, the fire station and the ambulance station, so we’re becoming quite used to the sound of sirens now.

“The whole situation is one we’re all watching quite closely, but we’re hearing of things like community clean-ups which should prove that not everyone down here is intent on wrecking the place.

“Hopefully things will quieten down sooner rather than later, and we can get back to normal.”