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Birmingham riots: Mob branded 'greedy'

Birmingham | News | Published:

Rioteers who brought chaos to the centre of Birmingham were this afternoon condemned as a "greedy" mob. The city's prestigious shopping centre was left ravaged by looters over-night, with shops ransacked and millions of pounds of damage caused. The world-famous Bullring and Mailbox became the targets of hundreds of masked thugs who ran riot through the streets using bins and chairs to shatter shop windows. More than 130 people, many youths, were arrested in a night of turmoil which saw £500,000 of damage caused when the mob descended on the exclusive Emporio Armani.

Rioteers who brought chaos to the centre of Birmingham were this afternoon condemned as a "greedy" mob.

The city's prestigious shopping centre was left ravaged by looters over-night, with shops ransacked and millions of pounds of damage caused.

The world-famous Bullring and Mailbox became the targets of hundreds of masked thugs who ran riot through the streets using bins and chairs to shatter shop windows.

More than 130 people, many youths, were arrested in a night of turmoil which saw £500,000 of damage caused when the mob descended on the exclusive Emporio Armani.

See also: Birmingham riots; The night - in pictures.

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

Prime Minister David Cameron today condemned the scenes of violence on Britain's streets as "sickening" as he recalled Parliament for Thursday in the wake of a third night of serious disorder.

He warned that rioters will face the "full force of the law", as he spoke outside Downing Street.

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This afternoon dramatic CCTV footage was released showing mobs smashing their way into shops throughout Birmingham city centre and fleeing with bundles of clothes.

In a night of turmoil:

* More than 130 people, many youths, were arrested for crimes including aggravated burglary and violent disorder.

* Thugs caused £500,000 of damage caused when the mob descended on the exclusive Emporio Armani.

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* Transport chiefs were forced to shut down bus services in and out of the city centre while police blocked the main entrance to New Street Station.

And Jamie Oliver revealed this afternoon that his restaurant, Jamie's Italian, at the Bullring, was damaged and unable to open due the violence.

West Midlands Police Chris Sims said the Birmingham rioters were "not an angry crowd, but a greedy crowd".

The trouble in the city marked the first night unrest had been seen outside London. Violence first flared there on Saturday night following protests after police shot a man.

Up to 800 yobs descended on Birmingham city centre, twice the number of riot officers who were deployed.

Thirty buildings were damaged and a police station in Handsworth was set on fire.

The violence had been rumoured on Twitter from around 5pm. Police at first described the reports as "unsubstantiated". But two hours later, as officers began to herd shoppers away from the city, gangs began running amok in the streets.

Security guards wielding fire extinguishers turned away rioters who tried to target Harvey Nichols. But chairs, bins and crowbars were used to smash their way into stores in the Mailbox and Bullring. Austin Reed in Temple Street was looted.

Today a further five people were arrested in police raids in Birmingham which saw expensive stolen clothing recovered.

Moor Street station was closed at 10.20pm after a gang gathered outside. Services were back to normal today and the Bullring and the Mailbox were open.

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said: "We will not tolerate violence. The investigation into the disorder has started and we are reviewing CCTV to identify offenders."

Nationally, England's football friendly against Holland at Wembley due to take place tomorrow was called off today after London endured a third night of rioting which has led to 525 arrests. More than 100 people have been charged.

Huge fires ravaged rows of houses and shops in Croydon and Enfield including a huge Sony distribution centre.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer who was run down while trying to stop looters in Brent, north west London, at 2.50am today. And the escalating violence claimed its first life this afternoon as a 26-year-old man who was shot in Croydon died.

Up to 6,000 officers were on duty in the capital last night. The Met said 16,000 officers would be on duty in London over the next 24 hours, with all leave cancelled.

There were also reports of trouble in Bristol and Liverpool last night.

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