England riots cost travel agents tens of thousands

Agencies targeted by looters during last week’s riots said the attacks cost them tens of thousands of pounds in damage and lost trade.

Croydon-based Shiv Travel, Tottenham Travel in north London, and two Co-op Travel branches, in Salford and Woolwich, were among those worst affected by  the riots, which forced scores of agencies to close early.

Shiv Travel estimated the riots had cost its business more than £35,000 after looters broke through shutters and a reinforced glass door. A credit card machine, a file of mostly-expired customer credit card details and up to £3,000 in cash were among items stolen.

Ritesh Patel, one of the owners, said he was lucky the shop was still standing. “If they had not found some cash they may have torched the shop – we found petrol cans outside.”

The 20-year-old family-run business, which has operated an agency in West Croydon for five years and offers a Western Union money transfer service, has now increased the number of CCTV cameras from four to nine.

Patel added: “Agents might be considered easy targets but we already have panic buttons and reinforced doors.”

Tottenham Travel, in High Road, Tottenham, had computers and phones stolen, costing the business up  to £10,000. Manager Lina Bhopalsingh said: “They vandalised the shop and we lost business because our road was shut for a week.”

Rioters smashed windows and doors of two The Co-operative Travel branches. Trevor Davis, retail distribution director, said: “The Salford branch was operational within 24 hours, and Woolwich within 48 hours. Our staff have been phenomenal.”

Thomas Cook and Thomson shops in Manchester had windows smashed, as did Thomson’s Birmingham New Street branch.

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