THE METROPOLITAN police will have to pay out tens of millions of pounds to the insurers of a Sony warehouse in Enfield, after a court ruled that an arson attack was part of the 2011 London riots.
The enormous distribution centre in north London burnt down at the height of the civil disturbances. But the police – who are responsible for compensating property owners for riot damage under a 19th century law – tried to claim that the warehouse was actually the target of a well-planned criminal raid.
Hundreds of thousands of DVDs, CDs and records went up in flames during the blaze, which the judge said was started by a group of local youths using a “variety of makeshift weapons”.
Independent record labels who used the warehouse were badly affected, with Dizzee Rascal’s Dirtee Stank label, Rough Trade, and Domino Records – home to Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys – all losing stock.
Insurers RSA and Mitsui had sought £60m in damages from the police. While they will receive money to cover physical damage the judge said they will not receive consequential damages – such as rent lost due to the riot.