08/08/2011 10:57 BST | Updated 08/10/2011 06:12 BST

London Riots: Hackney Standoff As Council Staff Warned About Possible Unrest

Police in east London are involved in a standoff with groups of youths in one of Hackney's main shopping areas. There have been only minor scuffles between officers in riot gear and the youths, who've smashed the windows of a Ladbroke's betting shop. There have been some unconfirmed reports of looting in the area.

Hackney council had warned its staff of a possible demonstration in the borough, in the wake of riots across the capital over the weekend. A staff member told HuffPost UK that they'd been ordered to go home at 4pm on Monday, saying people were then 'running around like headless chickens'

Council staff have been sent an email, seen by the HuffPost UK, where they were told to “take care” when travelling around buildings and wear their ID cards at all times.

The warning said: “We have been advised that there is a possible demonstration around Hackney Town Hall this afternoon. Please continue with your day as normal, but staff are advised to take care when travelling between buildings.

“Please wear your ID card at all times when inside buildings so you can be identified as staff. As a precaution, please remove your ID cards from open display when outside buildings. We will keep you updated about this situation and if any new information emerges.”

Staff were then told to vacate their building by 5pm and have been advised to stay away from Hackney Central and the Narrow Way.

It comes amid increasing tension in London, after disorder in Tottenham on Saturday night spread to Brixton, Enfield and Walthamstow on Sunday.

Many shops in Hackney’s Mare Street had closed as early as 1pm, with reports of more riots planned in the area on Twitter.