It was the saddest day in my newspaper career.

To watch Croydon burn as mindless thugs smashed, looted and set fire to the town where I have lived for the past three years disgusted and saddened me in equal measure.

There was no protest, no message the hooligans wanted to impart. Just an uncontrollable desire to destroy and steal.

Decent people across the borough were left cowering in their homes besieged by gangs of hooded youths, not knowing if they were to become the next target in their wanton destruction.

In the coming days and weeks blame will be apportioned to the police or the council or the Government. But that is not where it lies. It lies in the homes of every one of the sick thugs who took to the streets to terrorise our community and steal from our businesses.

If these criminal scum are from Croydon and you know who they are it is your duty to report them. If they came home in the early hours smelling of smoke or with new clothes, trainers or a television or a bike, you know where they came from. If they boast on Facebook or Twitter about their crimes or brag about it in the classroom, you must report them.

This newspaper will do everything in its power to help catch these yobs and tell you who they are, you must do the same.

Some people may think it is an acceptable crime to take from those who have more than you. But look at this newspaper; at the trail of destruction and devastation caused by people you know, acting like little more than animals.

Is this how you want to live? Is this a society you can accept?

There was no law on the streets of Croydon on Monday night. We must bring it back or we are lost.

Call the police incident room on 020 8345 4142.

Matthew Knowles, Editor

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