London has suffered a third consecutive night of widespread violence and looting, while similar scenes in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol have resulted in dozens of arrests.
Groups of youths attacked shops and started fires in Peckham, Croydon, Lewisham and Hackney and several other areas, while emergency services struggled to cope.
There were incidents of looting and violence on Woolwich High Street, where a police car was said to have been burned.
Ealing was also targeted, with cars attacked and a Tesco shop plundered. It was reported that looters in Ealing attempted to break in to a Bang & Olufsen shop.
Camden also saw running battles between police and rioters throughout the early hours.
The acting head of the Metropolitan Police urged the public to clear London's streets and called for parents to keep their children at home on Monday evening, as the atmosphere on London's streets became increasingly volatile.
Shops were reported ablaze in Ilford, east London. In Croydon, south London, a huge fire raged at the Reeves Corner furniture store, destroying the 100-year-old building. The store's owner, Trevor Reeves, called the destruction "mindless thuggery".
In Clapham Junction shops, including a large department store, were looted by up to 200 youths forcing the Metropolitan Police to turn to a fleet of armoured vehicles to push back the crowd.
Video posted to social networking sites depicted shops there including Wimpy and a bookmakers being attacked.
Incidents of violence and looting were also reported in Birmingham, where the BBC said that 35 people had been arrested. There were also reports of unrest in Toxteth, Liverpool, which witnessed similar civil disturbances in the early eighties.
Avon and Somerset Police urged Bristol residents to avoid the city centre amid reports of looting.
In response to the attacks Prime Minister David Cameron is returning back from holiday over night to chair a meeting of COBRA first thing tomorrow. It was also reported that Labour leader Ed Miliband and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg were cancelling holiday plans too.
Earlier in Peckham and Lewisham police lines stopped local residents from entering the area. Speaking to the Huffington Post, Peckham Rye resident Michelle (surname withheld) described the scene as “terrifying”.
“There are helicopters flying above. The police has blocked off the main street. From where I live about three minutes from the High Street I can see a vehicle on fire. I think it’s a bus. It looks as though a shop is also on fire.
“The police closed the station at around 6.30pm, so local residents are trying to find other ways home. I managed to get home and I’m not going back out. Mobile phones aren’t working too well. There’s barely any connection.”
The events in Lewisham and Peckham follow similar breakouts of violence in Hackney, east London, earlier today.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who has flown home from holiday to deal with the riots, said:
“Those responsible for the violence and looting will be brought to justice.”Suggest a correction