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Policing the funeral of a career criminal killed by a pensioner during a break-in reportedly cost around £15,000 of taxpayers’ money.
Tempers flared at the funeral of burglar Henry Vincent, 37, who died during the break-in at the Hither Green home of 78-year-old Richard Osborn-Brooks.
Hooded youths hurled rocks, bottles and eggs at bystanders and around 50 police officers were brought in to maintain order during the funeral.
The policing operation reportedly cost more than £15,000, including force helicopters – which are believed to cost in the region of £800 an hour – patrols at the church itself, as well as officers at Vincent’s mother’s house where the funeral cortege started and in Hither Green.
The service, which cost a reported £100,000, was marred by violence as mourners travelled to St Mary’s Church in south-east London.
Reporters covering the proceedings were asked by police to leave the scene after two groups of roughly 540 friends and family surrounded the press and began throwing punches, rock and eggs.
One man was arrested on suspicion of assault near the church yard, police confirmed.
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Mike Hughes, a reporter for London radio station LBC, said: “In my 10 years as a journalist, I have never felt so under threat.
“I’ve had bottles thrown in my face. I am covered in egg, which was pelted at me. It all came from members of the funeral cortege. I was surrounded by people who were very angry, very upset and became very violent, very quickly.”
Earlier, angry residents near the street where Vincent was killed formed a blockade in case the procession passed nearby.
The street has been the scene of earlier tensions after memorials to Vincent were repeatedly torn down by local residents.