After 10:00 pm a crowd of over a hundred moved along Moss Lane East damaging shops before arriving at Princess Road. After looting and fire-bombing shops on Princess Road they moved up Claremont Road and on to Wilmslow Road.
As one observer noted it seemed like, “All of Princess Road was on fire”. Radio reporter Peter Harrison was covering the fires, and stated
The incredible, remarkable thing about this scene is the total absence of any police presence whatsoever, or at least any official uniformed police presence. This is chaos, this anarchy in the centre of Manchester and nobody seems to be doing anything at all to restore order.
Harrison went on to note that “there are as many white youths as black, taking part in this disturbance”.
For many shop-owners the looting and fires were devastating. John Heath who owned a dry-cleaners on Wilmslow Road told reporters that
What happened apparently, me shop was emptied, the windows were put in around twelve o’clock. It was left till seven o’clock the following morning with the front absolutely open to everybody and they were taking it [the clothes] in armloads out to cars, going to the end of the street, trying it on for size and if they didn’t like the fit coming back for more…
Heath’s business had lost almost all of its stock though he stated that in the wake of the looting “what a lot of people have done is found stuff lying around the place and brought it back and now we’ve got quite a bit back”.