Staithes woman caught up in riots

A  Miss Selfridge shop on  fire in Market Street in Manchester city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 09, 2011.  Hundreds of youths ran down the street smashing the windows on another clothes store, while dozens tried to force the door of the Arndale shopping centre. Hundreds of riot police had tried to move crowds who had gathered on Piccadilly Gardens, leading to running battles with youngsters wearing masks and hoods. See PA story POLICE Shooting Manchester. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
A Miss Selfridge shop on fire in Market Street in Manchester city centre. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 09, 2011. Hundreds of youths ran down the street smashing the windows on another clothes store, while dozens tried to force the door of the Arndale shopping centre. Hundreds of riot police had tried to move crowds who had gathered on Piccadilly Gardens, leading to running battles with youngsters wearing masks and hoods. See PA story POLICE Shooting Manchester. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

A STAITHES woman who has moved to Manchester has told of her fear and anger after getting caught up in last week’s riots.

Geraldine Sharrock (24) left Staithes six years ago and moved to Manchester to study performing arts and after her studies decided to stay in the Lancashire city.

She has lived in Salford for two years which bore the brunt of rioting, disorder, looting and criminal damage.

The shop where Geraldine works in Piccadilly, close to the heart of Manchester City Centre, closed up early and she just managed to get one of the last trams out of the city before they too were attacked and watched the devastation unfold on TV.

She told the Gazette the whole experience was a shock because in the six years she has been in Manchester she has never experienced trouble.

Throughout last Tuesday afternoon she said there were rumours a riot had been planned to take place at 4pm but businesses were being reassured by Greater Manchester Police that they were just rumours and no incidents had been reported.

She said: “Salford precinct seems to have been the first to have been attacked and bricks were thrown at officers in the area.

“It unnerved me to see pictures being uploaded to Facebook of masked and hooded yobs running in gangs through Salford by the last place I lived. Thankfully our shop decided to close at 5.30pm, half an hour early as a precaution.

“There was police presence in the centre after I left work and I must have got one of the last trams out of the city before they started to attack them. After that all public transport to and from the centre was cancelled.”

Keeping in touch with friends elsewhere in the city she heard masked youths were throwing bricks at the windows of designers stores such as Radley, Reiss and Ugg and ransacking them.

Geraldine added: “It seems everywhere was a target. That night the footage on TV was devastating to watch, plus social network sites kept updating other places that had been hit, however a lot of what was being said was further rumours causing unnecessary anxiety and upset. I am disgraced with how mindless these people are.

“From what I’ve seen of footage their reasoning behind it is misguided and no excuse for their criminal behavior.”