Riot focus shifts north to Manchester

By Phil Scullion

Manchester and Birmingham became the main centres of disorder on the fourth night of rioting in England.

London saw an increased police presence. There were 16,000 officers on the capital's streets tonight, which appeared to have some considerable effect in dissuading potential looters.

Anticipated riots in London failed to materialise, but there were isolated reports of sporadic violence.

Whilst it was a quiet night for the capital, trouble flared in Salford, Manchester city centre, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.

Manchester  faced the heaviest riots with many shops looted and a fire at a Miss Selfridge store.

Labour backbencher Graham Stringer, the MP for Blackley and Broughton, broke ranks to speak out against Greater Manchester police's performance.

He said: "Certainly the police have a lot of questions to answer about why there is a shop on fire, where there has been a lot of damage to property… when we've known about it all day."

Sky News reported that a group of 100 youths raided a Footasylum shoe shop in the Arndale Centre while numerous other shops were looted.

Journalists struggled to cover the riots in the city for fear of being attacked.

Mark Tattersall, ITV news correspondent in central Manchester said: "It's getting too dangerous now. We have to pull back. A sad state of affairs when a camera man is being verbally and physically attacked."

Meanwhile West Midlands police reported disorder on a smaller scale than seen on Monday in Birmingham.

In a statement the force said: "In West Bromwich there were reports of a large group of people in the town centre this afternoon, who were dispersed. There is currently another large group in the town centre being managed by officers.

"Earlier in the evening police in Wolverhampton responded to reports of a large group of people in the city centre.

"The group caused some criminal damage to shops in the city centre, but these groups have now dispersed."