Shops and cars torched in Salford and Manchester
Crowds of youths have set fire to buildings and cars in Manchester and Salford.
One crowd marched into Salford’s main shopping centre and began smashing shop windows and stealing alcohol.
A separate crowd in Manchester’s Market Street has set a Miss Selfridge shop alight.
A BBC radio car has also been set on fire in Salford and a TV camerman has been attacked.
It was reported that cheers went up from the crowd of about 200, some of whom carried sticks, as the window was smashed of the Bang & Olufsen store, off King Street, in Manchester.
Looters carried out a widescreen TV while others took smaller electrical items.
At the sound of police sirens the crowds, which included small children on bikes, dispersed down side streets, but reconvened to march down Princess Street towards John Dalton Street.
Looters then ransacked the Tesco Express store on Princess Street.
A youth kicks in the window of a shop in Salford Youths have attacked a number of shops in Salford
BBC political correspondent Arif Ansari said a cameraman was set upon just before crowds began attacking a Bargain Booze store and The Money Shop in Salford Precinct.
The radio car, belonging to BBC Radio Manchester, was set alight along with a vehicle belonging to a reporter. No radio journalists have been injured.
The old library building and some council offices in Salford have also been set alight.
Crowds had gathered around Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens from late afternoon ahead of the disorder in Market Street near the landmark Primark store.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has stopped all trams and buses from operating in the city and said hundreds of riot police had attempted to move crowds on.
‘It is hostile’
Mr Ansari said the crowds responsible for the damage in Salford Precinct had gathered earlier on a roundabout to the south of the precinct and then moved in, chanting as they went.
Richard Stead BBC reporter
He said: “I’m just shaken because my cameraman has just been attacked and there’s no police presence here.
“They’re now looting Bargain Booze and there’s a very large crowd here and it is hostile.”
BBC reporter Richard Stead, who witnessed the stand-off at the north of the precinct, said GMP had deployed six Tactical Aid Unit vehicles to the area where about 100 spectators, including women and children, had gathered.
But the force said in a Twitter feed: “Reports of a ‘stand off’ between gangs and police in Salford exaggerated. 20 or so youths dispersed by police – one brick thrown, no injuries.”
A security spokesman at Salford Precinct said a group of 20 children had rampaged through the shopping centre at about 15:20 BST, knocking over bins and shoplifting.
One eyewitness to the stand-off, which is believed to have involved 12 officers with riot shields and batons, told BBC Radio Manchester that youths had been throwing bricks.
Another eyewitness said: “The cops have been fast enough to stop things and nothing really is happening now.”
Mr Stead said: “The tension is palpable and there is another group of 12 and 13-year-olds on bikes looking on.”
Salford and Eccles Labour MP Hazel Blears said she had been told by GMP that it was determined to “nip the disorder in the bud”.
She said: “In the past we have had anti-social behaviour out of control, but we got a grip of that and this behaviour is just mindless and pointless.
“The vast majority of people are great citizens in Salford and Eccles.”
The Arndale Centre in Manchester city centre closed early after a gang of about 25 youths ran in and attempted to break down the shutters of JD Sports.
An Arndale spokesman said: “They realised they couldn’t get in and they ran straight out again.”
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: “Greater Manchester Police has been engaged with dealing with outbreaks of minor disorder in Salford and Manchester city centre this afternoon, involving a small number of youths.
“A handful of shops have been attacked by groups of youths who have congregated and seem intent on committing disorder.
“As we have said, we will not allow such mindless criminal damage and wanton violence to go unpunished and we will arrest and prosecute anyone found to be involved in looting or acts of criminal damage.”
He said more officers were on the ground responding to any incidents and dispersing any groups of youths before they committed any crimes.
There had also been a number of arrests.