Rioting and looting spread across and beyond London overnight as hooded youths set fire to cars and buildings, smashed shop windows and hurled bottles and stones at police in a third night of violence in Britain's worst unrest in decades.
Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his holiday to fly home to tackle the violence, which appeared to be led by mobs of young people who coordinated their attacks through mobile phones, and spread to the cities of Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol late last night.
Many of the looters came from areas of high unemployment that are also suffering from cuts in social services and said they felt alienated from society. Police and politicians said they were simply criminals.
"It's been building up for years. All it needed was a spark," said on young man in a baseball cap surrounded by other youths in Hackney in east London. "We ain't got no jobs, no money. . . . We heard that other people were getting things for free, so why not us?"
The violence erupted late on Saturday in London's northern Tottenham district when a peaceful protest over the police shooting of a suspect two days earlier was followed by outbreaks of looting and arson.
Croydon, south London
A string of cars and buildings were set alight by gangs of youths. A 26-year-old man was injured in a shooting, while Reeves, a family furniture business that has stood in the area for more than 100 years, was gutted following a massive blaze. A woman was filmed jumping from a building which had been set on fire by rioters
Ealing, west London
Locals reported similar scenes of violence with groups of youths congregating in Haven Green park opposite Ealing Broadway Tube, throwing bricks at local shops, starting fires in the street and torching cars.
Fulham, west London
Youngsters threw a bicycle under a bus to block a road while they looted Curry’s, the electrical store. Helicopters circled the area throughout the night.
Hammersmith, west London
Further reports of looting. Shopkeepers in Shepherd’s Bush barricaded their businesses to try to keep out troublemakers.
Clapham, south London
Up to 1000 looters preyed on shops causing widespread disruption. Youths raided a Debenhams store and a number shops in Lavender Hill, while some broke into a fancy dress store near Clapham Junction stealing masks to conceal their identities. Looters were heard shouting “I’ve got jewellery, what have you got?” Scotland Yard said armoured police vehicles were used in Lavender Hill to push back more than 150 people in the area.
Bethnal Green, east London
More than 100 people looted a Tesco premises and two officers were injured. Police said there had also been looting in Stratford High Street, Newham.
Lewisham, south London
The Metropolitan Police said roaming groups of youths were also involved in disorder in a number of locations in the area.
Woolwich, south London
A large gang gathered outside the Stone Lane Retail Park branch of PC World last night, trying to force open the doors. Within minutes of gaining entry, large flat screen TVs and other electronic goods were being carted out.
Camden and Chalk Farm, north London
A number of officers were also called to Camden in north London to deal with troublemakers. Rioters smashed windows of a bicycle shop.
Enfield, north London
Around 40 firefighters tackled a large blaze, reported to have been started by looters, at a Sony warehouse in Solar Way.
Violence flared in Liverpool overnight for up to five hours as hundreds of rioters marauded through the streets to the south of the city centre. Cars and wheelie bins were set alight on a trail of destruction which stretched from the city centre to Toxteth, Dingle and Wavertree. The first reports of disorder came in at 10pm and calm was not restored until about 3am.
West Midlands Police said around 100 arrests were made after rioters rampaged across Birmingham city centre and some surrounding areas. Hundreds of youths gathered in the city's main retail area close to the Bullring shopping mall, which closed its doors early in anticipation of violence, while there were reports that a police station in Handsworth was set on fire.
More than 150 young rioters also caused disruption in the areas of St Paul's and Stokes Croft in Bristol, with police urging members of the public to stay away from the city centre.