Video: 3 Days of Chaos as London Riots Spread, Businesses Torched

| by Michael Allen

A third night of riots in London (videos below) turned neighborhoods into war zones as rioters burned thousands of stores, businesses and residences. Gangs of young people rampaged through the streets, breaking windows and looting businesses of TVs, clothing and cash.

Authorities were caught by surprise as government leaders and city officials have been away on vacation. On Tuesday, Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson returned to London to placate angry residents and business owners who were furious that leaders had been caught off guard. Cameron recalled parliament after Britain's worst rioting in decades, and the British army may have to be called in to quash the unrest.

Another casualty was the House of Reeves, a 140-year-old landmark in Croydon, a small town in a London suburb. On Tuesday, the historic structure was burned to the ground by rioters who rampaged through the neighborhood. Owner Graham Reeves lamented his loss, "No one's stolen anything. They just burnt it down. It's pointless."

As a result of the unrest, a soccer exhibition match between England and the Netherlands scheduled for Wednesday night in London had to be canceled following three days of rioting.

An online effort to identify the rioters, a new Google Group called "London Riots Facial Recognition," has recently emerged on the web. The group wants to use tools similar to Facebook's photo recognition to identify the rioters who appear in photos on the web. This is not without controversy though; people have been falsely identified via Facebook for acts they did not commit.