Images of town centres in flames sent shockwaves across the nation as riots raged in London and other major cities in July. But while police and politicians restored law and order, it was the 'broom armies' of local people who repaired national pride.
Hayley Miller, 29, who works for Feedme Music, helped clean up Clapham Junction in a homemade vest top bearing the slogan 'Looters are Scum'. She tells her story.
The first I heard was on Saturday night, when the riot in Tottenham was on the news. Then it escalated around the country. When it hit my part of London, I thought 'This is getting a bit too big'.
I was at work on Tuesday and the police warned they expected more trouble so we were all sent home early just in case.
As soon as I got home I followed it on the TV and online. My housemates were away so I was pretty much alone - and I was obsessed with knowing what was going on. Outside police cars were going past all through the night with their sirens on.
It didn't feel real. It felt like a movie. You just don't imagine that level of destruction happening where you live. It hit me really hard. I've lived in Clapham for four years, it's my home and I love it. To see it in flames made me very sad and very angry.
At the time no-one knew how out-of-hand it would get; whether it would come to residential areas. A lot of my neighbours moved their cars. It was the great unknown.
I'd been avidly looking at Twitter the whole night. At around midnight someone posted something about a clean-up, for everyone to meet up in Clapham Junction. I'd already told my boss I wasn't going to be able to go to work. I'd been up all night, so I decided I would definitely go down in the morning.
When I got there it was a complete warzone. All the shops were smashed up, there was broken glass everywhere. Empty boxes all over the street…
I thought maybe 10 people would show up, but there were so many there of all ages, people from college up to people in their 50s and 60s all there to show their support.
It was a nice relaxed atmosphere, even though people were talking about how bizarre it was and how angry they were. We were all there for the same thing, which was to clear up our home.
By doing what we did we got the message out that there are a lot more people who love and respect their communities than who don't. We saw the worst of London and the best of London in the space of 12 hours.
Afterwards, I read about the sentences being passed down and how people were saying they were too harsh. In some respects evicting someone from their home may be going a bit far, but this was an extraordinary situation and there has to be real thorough punishment to make people scared to do it again. They had to be harsh.
They can make any excuse under the sun. They say they can't get a job and that they come from poor backgrounds. So did I! I grew up in a single-parent family, mum was always on benefits and I left home at 15 - but I'm not sitting around on the dole. I've made something of myself.
When I wrote 'Looters Are Scum' on my top, I don't really know what was going through my mind. On Twitter there were lots of people using the phrase, I just took that and used it. As soon as I stepped outside I thought it was a bit harsh, but at the same time it's the only word you could use to describe them. What they did is unforgivable.
Hayley Miller was talking to Simon Freeman.
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