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Sony London Optical Disc Warehouse Destroyed in Fire

Sony's main optical disc distribution warehouse for the U.K. was hit by a large fire on Tuesday morning that has apparently destroyed most or all of the building.

Television images showed fire consuming the facility in Enfield, which is just to the north of London. The warehouse is one of six Sony has in Europe. It is operated by subsidiary Sony DADC and handles distribution of Sony Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD blank media, and movies and games for the U.K.

The fire will almost certainly have an impact on supply of Sony entertainment products in the U.K. and Ireland, but the extent of the impact will depend on the damage caused.

Sony in Tokyo said no staff had been injured in the blaze, but other information including the cause of the fire was unknown. "We are trying to confirm the facts," said George Boyd, a spokesman for Sony in Tokyo.

It came as London endured a third night of rioting and looting with numerous fires being set across the capital. An eye witness told BBC Radio that he saw youths carrying petrol bombs shortly before the distribution center was looted and set ablaze.

Journalists on the scene of the Sony fire reported seeing people walking away from the warehouse with consumer electronics goods.

The warehouse is not a major consumer electronics distribution point for Sony so the number of products inside was likely low.

The Metropolitan Police said at least 334 people were arrested in disturbances in several areas of the city. More than 1,700 additional police officers were deployed onto the streets of London with extras being drafted in from nine police forces in areas around London. The trouble first began on Saturday evening in the Tottenham district and has spread over subsequent nights.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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