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Birmingham hit by riots and looting

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Looting and rioting spread to Birmingham after apparently being orchestrated on social networking sites. Shop windows in the city centre were smashed and clothes and mobile phones stolen. There was rioting at The Mailbox, around New Street and the Bullring. One hundred people were arrested for various offences including violent disorder and aggravated burglary, and are currently in custody. A total of 11 patients were taken to a number of hospitals in the City.

Looting and rioting spread to Birmingham after apparently being orchestrated on social networking sites.

Shop windows in the city centre were smashed and clothes and mobile phones stolen. There was rioting at The Mailbox, around New Street and the Bullring.

One hundred people were arrested for various offences including violent disorder and aggravated burglary, and are currently in custody.

A total of 11 patients were taken to a number of hospitals in the City.

At first West Midlands Police said they had been made aware of rumours on the internet that a planned disorder was due to break out in Birmingham city centre.

Click on the image on the right to more pictures.

See also: Birmingham riots: The morning after - in pictures.

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"We have not seen any incidents, but we will have extra officers on patrol in the centre and suburbs this evening," a statement said.

The Bullring was closed and shoppers herded away as a cordon was erected. Hundreds of youths, many covering their faces with hoodies and scarves, gathered at the edge of the police cordon.

Shortly after 7.30pm, violence erupted. McDonalds, Jessops and LA Fitness were targetted initially, with bins thrown through the windows.

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As police held their lines rioters smashed several more shop windows and attacked passing buses.

In the upmarket Temple Row area of the city, home to several designer shops, suit maker Austin Reed had its window shattered.

Looters left clothes racks and clothes strewn across the floor of the shop.

Outside several motorbikes were left overturned. Rioters descended on Adidas' flagship New Street store.They broke through the door and people streamed in, grabbing anything they could lay their hands on.

Onlookers described thugs running with knives through the street and one photographer was set upon by a group who beat him and stole his camera.

Police tonight condemned the thugs. Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: "We will not tolerate mindless violence and damage anywhere in the West Midlands and are working to ensure that the offenders are identified and caught as soon as possible.

"A policing operation is in place with extra officers in Birmingham to restore calm in the city centre, and protect local people and businesses.

"Our communities have made it clear to us that they do not want this kind of violence in their city and we will continue to work with them to bring anybody who commits acts of crime or anti-social behaviour to justice as soon as possible."

13 pages of pictures and special reports in Tuesday's Express & Star.

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