The fire that destroyed North London’s Sony/PIAS distribution center—and with it the inventories of more than 150 independent record labels—may not have been just another random casualty of last month’s riots as initially suspected. According to The Telegraph, “sources in the security industry” now say that the warehouse was likely targeted by a gang of professional thieves, who took advantage of the distraction caused by the riots to spend nearly two hours dismantling the center’s protective fence, then loaded up stolen goods into a fleet of vans before they “ invited other gangs in to continue the looting in an attempt to cover their tracks.” The site’s overwhelmed security guards were unable to stop them or call in police forces for help—as they were obviously busy elsewhere—and soon enough the building went up in flames.

Anyway, one small bit of good news out of all this: The Telegraph now puts the loss at around 3 million CDs—a much lower number than the initial estimates of 25 million—while Sony has already established a new distribution center in Hertfordshire, which should help the many affected indie labels avoid what could have been a devastating crisis. And by all means, if anyone in the U.K. notices street gangs peddling crates of Rough Trade or Domino CDs, call the cops. [via Pitchfork]


UPDATE: PIAS Managing Director Peter Thompson has denied the Telegraph report to NME, saying, "The whole thing is a complete fabrication. The Sony warehouse doesn't have any of the hardware the report mentions. No Playstations, no televisions, nothing like that. The report was so inaccurate it was unbelievable…. I've no idea who planted the story or where the Telegraph got it, but there's not an ounce of truth to it. The investigation is still carrying on, but this came totally out of nowhere. I think that's why Sony and the Police haven't commented, because it's so inaccurate."