Boys of 12 arrested in East End swoops by cops after last summer’s riots

Schoolboys as young as 12 were among 10 suspects arrested in pre-dawn raids in London’s East End by police investigating the summer riots.

They were woken up at 6.30am yesterday (Weds) in 10 coordinated raids on addresses in Bethnal Green and Bow, following tip-offs and intelligence after hundreds of images from CCTV cameras were released to the media following the August street violence.

The move was part of a wider ‘snatch’ across London in the Met’s ‘Operation Winter Withern’—which brought in 77 people wanted for questioning.

The total now traced since the disturbances has reached 3,423, according latest Scotland Yard figures.

Det Ins Andy Packer led a force of 60 officers in Tower Hamlets, while it was still dark.

He briefed them at 6am at Limehouse police station before the 10 squads drove out in convoys at precisely the same time.

Their investigation concentrated on troubles along Roman Road Market, where a designer label boutique had its stock cleaned out and other stores were wrecked a mile-and-a-half away along Bethnal Green Road.

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“Anyone involved last summer now knows we’re coming—even if it takes months,” Det Ins Packer told the Advertiser.

“We’re sending shock waves through the community, right back to any perpetrators.

“We want to spoil their Christmas—so they’ve had enough of looking over their shoulder, knowing we can arrive any time and bust into their homes.”

The tactic appears to work—a relative of three youngsters picked up yesterday gave unexpected information about a fourth person in the same street.

Seven of the 10 arrests in the East End were schoolkids, at three addresses near Roman Road Market, three in Bethnal Green in the Teale Street neighbourhood and two near the Regent’s Canal at Cambridge Heath.

The seven were later due before the Youth Referral scheme run by police and the Probation Service which was deciding their fate.

Search warrants were used at 100 addresses across London yesterday morning in the ongoing operation to identify and arrest anyone involved in the disorder. Further arrests are planned in the New Year, Scotland Yard warned.

Police are advising anyone with information to contact Operation Withern on 020-7275 4353, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.