Birmingham and Manchester fall prey as looters target jewellers.
The rioting that has swept the country in recent days wreaked more havoc last night as the cities of Birmingham and Manchester became targets for looters and rioters.
In Manchester jewellery retailers were targeted. House of Fraser and Links of London were looted, as was independent retailer H. Pollock, whose front shutters were pulled up with display cabinets overturned and jewellery stolen.
In the centre of Manchester a branch of Swarovski on Exchange Street had its windows smashed and jewellery stolen. During the raid, three cars with plain clothed police offers arrived and officers used batons to wrestle the thieves to the ground. Two men were arrested by five plain clothed police officers who had to call for back up after being surrounded by a mob.
Adam McLean from ITV posted a photo on Twitter of undercover police arresting thieves at the Swarovski store while reports suggest that looters in Manchester are as young as nine or 10 years old.
In Birmingham, where a Pandora store was targeted on Monday night, the Jewellery Quarter closed at 1pm as businesses shut up shop. Retailers and companies in Hatton Garden, London, followed suit ahead of anticipated unrest but the area was left untouched last night.
Yesterday Birmingham Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin said that a decision had been made to shut down the area following discussions between business owners and industry members. Police remained on the street and in the area, and one photo taken by Twitter user Stuart Ford at 3.40pm yesterday showed a quiet street with two officers present.
However, unrest in the city centre last night meant that more central Birmingham retailers were under attack. At 6pm it was reported that more than 200 masked youths threw a bin through a jeweller’s window, while police stood a hundred yards away watching the raid unfold. At about 7pm reports from the BBC said that a newsagent on Newhall Street in the Jewellery Quarter had been ransacked by around 20 youths, who used manhole covers to smash windows.
In the Mailbox shopping centre in Birmingham, rioters also used manhole covers to smash through the window of a jewellery store.
In Woolwich, south-east London, jewellers and pawnbrokers were targeted by looters.
Greater Manchester police said they had arrested 108 people overnight. Police admitted they had struggled to contain the rioters, describing the disorder in the city as the worst for 30 years. They eventually regained control of the city centre as the rioting ebbed around midnight. West Midlands police arrested 109 people.
Other locations including Salford, Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Liverpool, Bristol and Gloucester also felt the force of rioters who continued to cause damage to property and vehicles. London had a quieter night in comparison, with 81 people arrested as 16,000 police officers arrived in the capital from as far away as Wales and Manchester.
Meanwhile, police have been releasing images of looters, including those who stole jewellery from shops in Hackney, London, London Road in Croydon and Bristol. In Glasgow a 16-year-old boy has been arrested for sending out Facebook messages inciting violence and rioting in the city.
A report from the Guardian has this morning said that bill for the riots across the UK could total £100m to the taxpayer, as police authorities face picking up the insurance costs for damage to property.