Night of fear as 'wave' of yobs terrorised streets
LEAVING a children's play area to walk into a small, quiet residential cul-de-sac, a strong smell of petrol comes from a burnt out van. Shards of glass litter the road and pavement and smashed windows are being boarded up.
This is the devastation left on Kelham Green – which is just one of several St Ann's Streets that were attacked by about 30 rioters in the early hours yesterday.
The rioters started their rampage by setting fire to a parked van. As it burned in one corner of the cul-de-sac, one middle-aged lady, who did not want to be named, was evacuated from her house.
"I heard a bang, then a smash, then my son came down and by the time he looked out of the window, the van was on fire and then it was just panic," she said. "The next thing we had riot police knocking on the door saying 'you've got to get out'. It was terrifying.
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"I don't know how I got out. I just thought 'crikey, how am I going to get past that [the van] if it bangs?'
"I didn't get back to sleep until about 6am. I'm tired out now and just worried because you don't know if people are going to come round again."
As well as setting fire to the van in Kelham Green, the rioters, who were allegedly dressed in black with hooded jumpers covering their faces, also smashed the windows of several cars and houses.
One woman said she was in the house with her one-year-old grandchild when rocks came through her bedroom window. The windows of her car were also smashed.
She added: "I heard all the commotion and then they smashed up my car and bedroom window. I had to get out of the house because the van was on fire. It was awful."
Phillip Edwards, 45, was also waiting for his window to be boarded up after a rock was thrown through it.
"I heard them shouting something," he said. "I thought they might have seen me because they shouted 'you at the window – get away' so I went for the phone and dialled 999.
"It all just happened so quickly. I just hope it doesn't keep happening."
From Kelham Green the rioters continued their rampage down Tuxford Walk and then into Serlby Rise, where they jumped on the bonnets of more cars and kicked in windscreens.
Theo Ocquaye, 30, went outside when he heard yelling.
"We thought it was drunkards then the next minute we saw one of them jumping on the bonnet of a car and that's when I got up to see who was doing it," said Mr Ocquaye, who lives on Serlby Rise.
"They put a brick through it [the car] and then I saw them with a stick, hitting the mirror.
"We were confused because this is a quiet neighbourhood. Every once in a while you get a couple of drunkards but that's about it.
"We feel very let down and upset that people would do this in their own city."
The path of destruction continued in Ranby Walk with more smashed windows and vehicles.
Billy Sisson, 25, said his three-year-old son Leon had a lucky escape after a rock came through the child's bedroom window – 10 minutes after he had been taken into his parents' bedroom for safety.
Mr Sisson, said: "We heard some banging where they were smashing the car windows then I heard an almighty bang and I expected it to be the car then I looked up and just thought 'Oh God'.
"I was gutted. They must have thrown it with some force. It was scary when it happened, we were up until about 6am."
The rioters continued to Hogarth Street where they destroyed more cars and windows. About 10 cars were smashed in Pym Street after yobs let the handbrake off a car and rolled it down the hill after failing to set fire to it.
The next morning, the owners of the cars had gathered outside to survey the damage. A 48-year-old, who did not want to be named for fear of attracting more trouble, had his black Volkswagon Golf smashed in.
He said. "They ran through the street, jumped on cars and tried to set fire to one.
"It was just frightening. They were methodically working their way down the street.
"It was a wave – they just came down and destroyed what was in their way."
Another owner of a damaged car was taking her 11-month-old son to her parents because she was worried about more riots last night.
"My first thought was getting him out," she said. "I didn't know if they were going to put a petrol bomb in the house or something else.
"We're worried it will happen again. I definitely won't be keeping him here."
Other residents said they were not going to get their cars fixed yet in case it happened again.
A 34-year-old said: "When it's your own property and you work for it, it just makes you so angry. "I'm going to have to see what happens and stay out to try to deter them if they come along here again. I think it's most likely because if you look at other areas it's just copy cat, it's just filtered through to other areas. It's just a lot of fun for them."
His next-door neighbour added: "It's scary and it's horrible. Everyone is scared they will come again and attack."
Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins joined the residents in Pym Street at about 10am to see the damage for himself.
He said: "People are rightly concerned and upset and I can completely understand why."
People on nearby streets were also appalled to see the devastation. Kevin Hooton, of Dowson Street, was in with his two sons, aged 13 and 15, when he saw fire engines arrive.
"I was scared watching the news and what's going off and I was worried last night so I slept on the couch," he said. "I think it's down to the economic climate – it's just a depressing outlook. I've lived here all my life and things have never been so bad for me and it must be even worse for young people.
"I think they are so angry with everything in life anyway that it's just going to escalate."