The owner of a Croydon furniture store, destroyed by flames in the August riots, was introduced to a convicted looter in a recent documentary.
Maurice Reeves, owner of the 144-year-old Reeves Furniture business, met the 18-year-old Croydon looter as part of a BBC documentary this week. The unnamed young man has been given community service for his part in the August disturbances.
The individual admitted not thinking twice before acting, and apologises for what happened to local shops. Reeves was adamant he would have “stood away”, if faced with the same situation, to which the young man replied: “I really do wish I did now.”
After the meeting Reeves claimed to appreciate the looter’s temptation, but added: “I cannot understand them burning my shop down.”
Reeves explained in the programme that on the day of the arson attack, August 8, he was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife at the National Gallery. He only discovered what had happened to his business after turning on the television.
The documentary also shows the 80-year-old meeting young people in Croydon to discuss the riots, and presenting the Sports Award at the area’s Black Youth Awards last month.
Reeves’ journey in the aftermath of the events includes meeting Charlene Munroe, a mother of one, whose house was badly affected by a fire nearby.
The young people Reeves speak to, including some involved in the riots, explain punishments that could be more effective than jail sentences, including community service. One unnamed young person said: “Trust me, doing community service is worse than going to prison because you have to wake up at certain times, and if you miss that, they’ll either add some more hours on or you’re going to go to prison.”