Hundreds of people have rioted and looted shops in Manchester city centre as towns across the UK suffer a fourth day of violence by gangs of violent youths.
Rioters burned and ransacked shops on Market Street in the city's central shopping area including Miss Selfridge, before attempting to break into the Arndale Centre.
The gangs then moved to New Cathedral Street according to reports, and attacked Harvey Nicks, Selfridges and Ugg, among other shops.
Hundreds of youths proceeded down the street trying to force their way inside the stores, while riot police tried to herd crowds from Piccadilly Gardens who tried to throw bricks and other missiles at officers.
Around 100 people looted Foot Asylum, smashing the glass shop front before carrying out shoes and bags.
There were reports the gangs then split up into four or five co-ordinated groups and attacked bystanders taking photographs.
Some eyewitnesses criticised the police response.
"It's pathetic," said Gary Gray, a Manchester resident who tweeted pictures from the scene and spoke to The Huffington Post UK as the disturbances continued. "There's 16,000 police in London, leaving everyone else short. And there's hundreds of people ransacking Manchester... The mass mob has broken into four or five smaller gangs, all communicating with each other, all well organised... The police haven't got a chance of getting it under control."
The violence was also reported to be worsening as night fell, with officers struggling to get the situation under control.
Earlier Manchester police had said the violence was isolated and on a small scale.
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: "A handful of shops have been attacked by groups of youths who have congregated and seem intent on committing disorder.
"As we have said, we will not allow such mindless criminal damage and wanton violence to go unpunished and we will arrest and prosecute anyone found to be involved in looting or acts of criminal damage."
Meanwhile, West Midlands Police said that disorder had been reported across the region including in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
A force spokesman said: "Police in Birmingham are managing a large group of people causing disorder in several areas within the city centre."
West Midlands Police have announced that they have arrested 389 people in connection with the riots.
Peter Hitchens: "People riot because they are wicked, selfish and lawless...we have dismantled every form of authority in society."
For the next hour Sky News is hosting a debate on the riots, with journalists Peter Hitchens and David Aaronovitch. It could get interesting...
|@ SkyNewsBreak : 186 Metropolitan Police officers reported injured since Saturday|
|@ SkyNewsBreak : Metropolitan Police have arrested 950 people so far since starts of the riots, 457 of those have been charged|
The met police have arrested a thug for robbing an injured student during the riots.
He is one of 950 people who have been arrested in connection with violence, disorder and looting by the metropolitan police. A total of 457 people have been charged.
|@ SkyNewsBreak : Met Police: Roughly half of 240 people who have appearedin court so far charged over London riots were under 18|
|@ TimGatt : K Clarke tells Sky:"This is worse than 25 yrs ago[...]There are several sections of the population that are much more totally irresponsible"|
Mr Cameron has set himself an enormous task here, effectively pledging to reverse the drift of popular culture in Britain and change the way the country thinks and feels.
While this continues, Met police have been making more arrests and raided properties - officers in Brixton, south London, recovered clothing and an iPod,
In Pimlico, West London, they found £1,600 in cash and "thousands of pounds worth of Hugo Boss clothing - all still with the labels on."
“In recent weeks the prison population has reached record highs and prison and probation officers are being increasingly overstretched. It is vital for public safety and for security in our prisons and the youth secure estate that prison and probation staff get the resources and support they need", he said in a statement released on Thursday.
|@ itv_news : 11-year-old girl charged with criminal damage following disturbances in Nottingham has been given a referral order #riots|
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced a £50 million fund to help make major long term improvements to the capital’s town centres and high streets damaged by the recent disturbances.
|@ frances_skynews : Ian Jones, 36 unemployed pleads guilty to trespass of a building containing a cash machine with 43k in it.|
|@ NigelNelson : Possibly the best, most thoughtful, speech @Ed_Miliband has made since becoming leader. Close study recommended|
Other games will go ahead at the start of the premier league, but start a bit earlier, David Cameron tells MPs.
"Other matches should go ahead but starting earlier on in the day. I think that is a very sensible decision."
The package of support being announced today includes:
A £10m recovery fund to help councils with the immediate costs of making their areas safe, clear and clean again. This fund can be used, for example, to clear debris left strewn in streets and make immediate repairs to pavements and roads. This Recovery scheme can also be used to support councils who use their powers to offer council tax discounts or council tax relief to those whose homes have been damaged but are still habitable.
A £20m High Street Support Scheme - funded jointly by the Departments for Communities and Local Government, and Business Innovation and Skills, which will be made available immediately, for the streets and areas where businesses were affected by the rioting. The money is intended to finance those measures that will get business trading again and meet short term costs. Councils will distribute the money and could use it to reduce business rates, finance building repairs and encourage customers back to the affected areas.
In addition, seriously damaged homes and business properties will be taken off the respective valuation lists, and Mr Pickles has strongly encouraged the Valuation Office Agency and local authorities to do so as promptly as possible. This removes any liability for council tax or business rates.
Councils have the power to offer rate relief for local firms, but must pay a quarter of the cost; central government automatically pays for three quarters of the cost. This Scheme will help reimburse councils for their costs, to facilitate immediate and real financial help to be given to small and medium firms to rebuild their local businesses. Business rates are typically the third biggest outgoing for firms after rent and staff.Re-housing funding to meet the immediate costs of emergency accommodation for families who have been made homeless by the disturbances. As these are exceptional circumstances, Mr Pickles has confirmed that his Department would meet these costs under established homelessness funding processes.
Commenting on the government's measures to help businesses affected by the riots, Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said:
“We welcome these announcements by the government, as they offer practical assistance at what is a terrible time for many businesses across London and the UK. We are also pleased to see that the government recognises the importance of getting businesses back up and running.
"It is important, however, that businesses in affected areas that did not experience any direct damage are able to take advantage of the measures announced today, where they have suffered an indirect impact.
"Ultimately though it will be the enduring spirit of London’s businesses that will see them recover from these appalling events, and ensure that the capital remains the best place in the world to do business.”
This Government has a clear message to the rioters: your one night of madness could have disastrous consequences for the rest of your lives, and for your entire family. .
|@ nickdebois : RT @stewartgjgreen: @nickdebois asks the P M to get schools to assist with identifying rioters and looters <and a good idea it is>thanks!|
"Further militarisation" won't help, she tells the PM
|@ GregHands : Ed Miliband loved seeing his brother slip up there on "elected chief constables", visibly smiling at the mistake.|
David Cameron: It's about giving police more power.
|@ craigawoodhouse : Michael Gove using ipad on Commons front bench. Wonder if he is re-watching newsnight row with Harman?|
He wants "as many people to be nicked" as possible
|@ TimGatt : How Cameron can control a U.S. based site like Da Twitta, I don't know.|
Reverse police cuts, reverse soft prison plans of current Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
Cameron is standing firm on this, cites police constables who agree with him in Thames Valley.