Social media posts calling for ‘Croydon Riots 2k19’ have been circulating online over the past week, appearing to encourage violence and looting across south London.
Although the police claim not to be actively investigating the posts, large numbers of officers were said to have been seen in Croydon town centre last Thursday, in anticipation of the ‘raids’ at local shops.
At least 30 police officers were seen outside branches of JD sports and McDonalds at the Whitgift centre in Croydon.
Fears of potential unrest grew from a widely-circulated screenshot of Snapchat messages encouraging people to gather outside JD Sports in Croydon on Thursday. The post told would-be participants to dress in “something black” and bring a balaclava and gloves.
No activity beyond an increased police presence was witnessed. Scotland Yard said no incident had taken place. However, further messages about raids elsewhere in the borough have been circulating since Thursday.
Subsequent Snapchat posts included a call to a ‘raid’ on Currys on Purley Way on Saturday and at Sainsbury’s in Crystal Palace on November 16.
Thursday’s original post included a number of commands:
“Strictly no loud girls”
“If you do not know how to run. Don’t come”
“If you have your school uni[form] on. Don’t come”
“If you get caught it’s at your own risk”
The post for the event at Purley Way Currys encouraged prospective ‘raiders’ to “take whatever you can get” before going “back to Lloyd Park for a smoke up”. The message also said: “Weapons encouraged”.
Police have said nothing is being done to directly tackle the posts, but a police spokesman told Eastlondonlines that they “are aware of the comments on social media” and encouraging shopkeepers to report anything suspicious.