Milton Keynes is home to 240,990 people. According to police estimates what proportion of the city’s population is believed to have been involved in criminal activity on Tuesday evening? 0.02 per cent.
After a day of frantic rumours and hoaxes, the much-dreaded Milton Keynes riots turned out to be a merciful damp squib on Tuesday.
Despite predictions on social messaging sites that stores would be looted, houses burned and cars overturned, the actual damage, though still nasty, was minimal.
The rioters consisted of one lawless gang of 30 youths, thought to be aged between 16 and 25.
They congregated in Coffee Hall at 5pm and made their way on foot through city estates to Bletchley.
Because they were walking, well-prepared city police could easily keep up.
Fears were sparked shortly before 6pm when a house and garage block caught fire in Beanhill. But, though still under investigation, it is not believed to be connected to any riot.
In Eaglestone, the thugs hurled a couple of petrol bombs, one hitting a car, and threw a missile at a police car.
The front line attack came when they reached Bletchley’s Queensway, where a police helicopter and officers with riot shields were waiting.
Even so, the yobs managed to smash the Coral betting shop windows and commit a dozen offences of criminal damage – including throwing a melon at the Blockbuster store.
The most serious crime was the looting of the Golden Palace restaurant.
“They ran into the restaurant, punched the manager and made off with the till,” said a police spokesman.
Officers arrested five gang members, one thought to be the ring leader. The men, two of them aged 24, and the others 17, 18 and 19 respectively, were all taken into custody.
Immediately afterwards the gang dispersed and by 10pm the city was calm.
Householders fearing for their own safety, traders who had boarded up their shop fronts and businesses who had closed early all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Police have now issued a dire warning to other would-be rioters.
Said police superintendent Nikki Ross: “If you plan to go out again, you will be arrested and brought to justice. We have the resources to deal with it.”
So keep calm, treat any rumour with a pinch of salt and don’t let the mindless morons in the minority make you feel unsafe.