Sony Warehouse Burned During London Riots Was Not a 'Professional Heist,' PIAS Insists

AP Photo/Akira Suemori

A senior executive at PIAS has categorically dismissed reports that the Sony warehouse destroyed during last month's U.K. riots was targeted by "professional robbers" prior to being incinerated.

As previously reported, the Sony DADC warehouse was burnt to the ground on August 8, destroying 25 million discs. PIAS, which handles stock for over 150 labels, including the Beggars Group (XL Recordings, 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade), Domino and Warp, lost more than 3 million units in the blaze.

According to a story published Tuesday in British newspaper The Telegraph, the three-story distribution centre may have been "deliberately targeted by a professional gang, in a carefully planned raid, using the riots as a distraction."

The Telegraph story went on to claim that intruders attacked the building using specialist cutting equipment to dismantle a high security fence. They then overwhelmed on-site security staff before summoning a fleet of vans, into which thieves loaded electrical stock and tech hardware, the report said, with quotes it claimed were from eyewitnesses and sources in the security industry. The Telegraph additionally stated that once the original robbers had left the scene, a crowd of youths poured into the ransacked building and helped themselves to stock, including game consoles before the building caught fire. 

"There is absolutely no truth in the Telegraph story," Peter Thompson, MD of PIAS U.K., told "The Sony warehouse does not even store any hardware such as TVs and Playstations," he continued, categorically denying any allegations regarding a professional gang targeting the Sony DADC building.

Following the blaze, Sony DADC quickly established  a new distribution centre in Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, England. PIAS has also implemented a new distribution system, which has seen it partner with London-based Proper Music to service specialist and catalog titles for all independent retailers in the U.K. Sony DADC continues to handle distribution to mass merchant retailers, such as British supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, as well as HMV bulk orders.