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Top London restaurant the Ledbury was targeted in rioting last night — staff came to the rescue of diners who hid out in the wine cellar.
After damage at the two Michelin-starred restaurant, chef Brett Graham has reassured the public this morning that it will be open for lunch and dinner tonight. He tweeted: “We are not going to be silenced by a bunch of thugs”
A blog post by NakedSushi on runawaysquirrels.com, one of last night’s diners, told of rioters storming the restaurant and demanding phones and jewellery from frightened customers, who were led to safety in the wine cellars.
She blogged: “The kitchen staff went beyond their call of duty by rushing up with rolling pins, fry baskets and other dangerous kitchen tools and scared off the looters.”
She added that staff then provided “well-needed glasses of alcohol”.
Riots continued across the capital for a third night last night, and spread for the first time to other cities across the UK including Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and Liverpool.
Chris Connolly of Connollys wine merchants in Birmingham said trouble kicked off 300 yards from his shop last night. He has been taking additional precautions to protect his store, including checking insurance, extra padlocks, and backing up the computer system off-site.
Meanwhile Borough Wines in the London borough of Hackney was forced to close early yesterday after violence erupted. BoroughWines tweeted this morning: “Pretty scary but today seems calm. Have to wait and see for this evening.”
A spokeswoman for supermarket chain Tesco said: “A number of Tesco stores in London and other major English cities were affected by criminal gangs of looters and arsonists overnight. Once again we commend the actions of our hard-working and courageous staff in opening all but one of these stores this morning. We will cooperate fully with the police in bringing these criminals to justice.”
The British Beer & Pub Association has said it is in contact with the Home Office over violence affecting pubs.
“Attacks on pubs are an attack on the whole community. Pubs need to heed the advice of local police, and their first priority must be the safety of staff and customers, even if that means temporarily shutting the premises. We are advising licensees to use local Pubwatches as a useful source of information and support in this unprecedented situation,” said a spokesman.
ACS has published guidance for retailers on how to cope with the riots, while the Retail Trust has seen a surge in the amount of phonecalls from shopkeepers not sure how to deal with the emotional aftermath. You can contact the charity on freephone 0808 801 0808, or text ‘Helpline’ to 88010, or email helpline@re tailtrust.org.uk.
Has your business been affected? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Gemma McKenna
Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review