THE two nights of rioting in Bristol are likely to cost the city hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Shops and businesses are counting the cost of the public disorder which saw vandals and looters take to the streets on Monday and Tuesday night following widespread civil unrest in London.
The bill for replacing burnt-out vehicles, smashed windows, torched bins, damaged buildings and stolen property alone is expected to easily top £70,000.
Bristol City and Bristol Rovers lost out on up to £6,000 by being forced to cancel their home matches at Ashton Gate and the Memorial Ground.
But other losses and costs are more difficult to calculate. Shops have shelled out for increased security and missed out on trade by closing early, while restaurants and pubs in the city have been quieter than usual as people choose to stay at home in safety in the evenings.
The highest cost will be the bill for policing the riots, with Avon and Somerset police paying out overtime to dozens of officers and drafting in support from forces in Devon and Cornwall and Gwent.
By by Thursday evening, 36 arrests had been made and nine people had been charged in connection with the disturbances in St Paul’s, Stokes Croft, Montpelier, St Werburgh’s, Kingswood and Cabot Circus.
They were arrested on suspicion of offences including burglary, violent disorder, criminal damage and assaulting police officers.
Although there were far fewer disturbances in the city on Wednesday night, a police spokes- woman said officers were still on standby in case of further outbreaks of disorder.
She said: “We will be closely monitoring activity across the country and we will be prepared.”
Five of the 25 suspects who were caught on CCTV and pictured on the front page of yesterday’s Evening Post have been identified and arrested.
The spokeswoman said the force had received a “good response” to the release of the images and the campaign it launched on social networking website Facebook to bring the rioters to book.
The violence earlier this week saw windows smashed at more than 10 shops and businesses, including John Anthony in Quakers Friars, Tesco in Stokes Croft and Blackboy Hill, Debenhams in Broadmead, NatWest in Clifton, McDonald’s in Broadmead and Nuala hair salon in Horfield.
Three cars were torched in St Paul’s, one in Lawrence Weston, a motorcycle was burnt out in Fishponds and a single-decker bus was set alight in St Werburgh’s.
Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery was taken following a break-in at the Thomas Sabo shop at Cabot Circus.
Nick Higgs, chairman of Bristol Rovers, said the cancellation of the club’s Carling Cup match against Watford on Wednesday cost £3,000.
He said: “This was made up of aborted food, staff wages we were committed to paying and getting the pitch ready. We were very lucky – if the game had been cancelled an hour or two later, costs would have escalated because more staff would have come in.”
Bell’s Diner restaurant in Montpelier missed out on £1,000 worth of business as a result of customers cancelling bookings.
Harry Bourne, a sous chef at the restaurant, said nine tables had been cancelled. He said: “People were saying they were worried about going out for the evening. They said they were concerned about coming into the area and being stuck here because taxis wouldn’t come and collect them.
“We’re right in the middle of Montpelier and Picton Street was closed when there were riots in Stokes Croft in April. Business won’t pick up again now until the weekend and next week.”
Mike Donaldson, a director at Warmley-based South West Glass, said the company had been working flat out to replace broken panes of glass across the city.
He said the firm was also boarding up other shop windows and doorways to prevent vandalism and burglaries.
Mr Donaldson said it cost as much as £4,500 to install toughened glass in properties such as banks.
He said: “We’ve been trying to get the work done and get Bristol tidied up and secure. We’ve had in excess of 20 call-outs.
“Myself and the other three partners have been working 16 and 17-hour days in the last few days.”
John Hirst, of Destination Bristol, said businesses, hotels, shops and tourist attractions had been contacted about how they had been affected by the disorder.
Police said Bristol had returned to “normal” by Wednesday night following the previous two nights of disruption. No problems were reported yesterday evening.
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley said: “I think the relative calm of the past few nights shows the desire of the whole city to work together to make Bristol a safe place, and shows what a great community spirit the city has.
“Of course, we are not going to be complacent, and we will continue to monitor the situation and ensure we are prepared for any eventuality. It is also important to remind everyone that while the past two nights have been comparatively peaceful, we have not forgotten what we experienced on Monday.
“We are still working very hard to identify those involved, and I am very hopeful that, in the coming days and weeks, we will see additional arrests and more people being put before the courts.
“The message is clear: not only is that kind of disorder unacceptable and unwelcome, we are determined to ensure that it will not go unpunished.”