Five men have been arrested after a vile video of revellers laughing as an effigy of Grenfell Tower went up in flames went viral.
The men aged from 19 to 55 are being held on suspicion of a public order offence after handing themselves into a south London police station last night (Mon).
The footage, which appears to have been taken over the weekend, showed people laughing as the cardboard “building” went up in flames.
A senior cop leading the Grenfell Tower probe said he was “appalled” by the “vile” after it was branded a “hate crime” by outraged viewers online.
The men are from south east London, according to police.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “The men, aged 49, 19, 46, 55 and 49, were arrested after they handed themselves in to a south London police station at 10pm on Monday.
“They have been taken into custody.”
Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy said: “I am frankly appalled by the callous nature of the video posted online.
“A total of 71 people died in the fire at Grenfell Tower, so many people lost so many loved ones, and many more have been deeply affected.
“To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile.
“I can’t imagine the distress this video will undoubtedly cause to bereaved families and survivors.”
He added: “The Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team is taking this matter very seriously.
“Any offences that have been committed will be fully investigated.”
The London Fire Commissioner has called footage shared online of a group of people burning a Grenfell Tower effigy on a bonfire ‘appalling and disgusting’.
The video has been slammed by social media users who have branded the act as a ‘hate crime’ and demanded the perpetrators be identified.
In a statement yesterday (Mon), commissioner Dany Cotton said the footage will cause deep pain to the fire’s survivors and could not be justified on any level.
She said: “This is an appalling and disturbing video.
“To intentionally use and mock the Grenfell Tower fire in this way will cause deep pain and offence to the bereaved, survivors, the local community and all of the emergency services who will never forget that night.
“It cannot be justified on any level.”
Ms Cotton was on the scene when the fire broke out at the west London tower block in June last year.
The blaze claimed 72 lives and is currently the subject of a public inquiry.
The revellers could be heard in the video jeering and laughing as a cardboard construction of the west London tower block is lifted onto two wooden slats over a burning bin.
An English flag can be seen on the fence behind the bonfire as the crowd laughs and jokes.
A woman is heard saying: “Bye everyone. Bye” as she helped lift it into the flames while other people joked about the tragedy that took the lives of 72 people in June last year.
Several people in the video appear to say that the effigy is ‘in bad taste’ but they are quickly cut short by the perpetrators.
Men can be heard making fun of the fire service’s infamous advice given to residents of the tower when the fire first broke out to stay in their flats.
A man said: “Stay in your flat we are coming to get ya” while another counsels the flat residents to ‘jump out the window’.
Another added: “We can go rob the bottom flats.”
One voice appears to be mocking residents of the tower who were stuck on their higher levels of the tower, and said in a high-pitched voice: “Help me, help me!”
As the paper figures in the tower are set alight one of the thugs added: “That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent”
By Berny Torre
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