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UK Riots Spread to Birmingham

Birmingham: The city that spawned heavy metal music, and now an insurrection that takes out Armani and McDonald’s.

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Rioting erupted in Birmingham overnight, with shop windows smashed and stores looted in what police described as “mindless thuggery”.

A police station in Handsworth, nearly three miles out of the city centre, was set on fire.

Among the shops damaged was a city centre McDonald’s restaurant and an Armani store at the Mailbox shopping centre which was looted.

About 100 were arrested, including a significant number of youths.

Thirteen people out of 28 injured seen by crews went to hospitals, the ambulance service said.

Several premises were attacked with shop windows smashed and property stolen in various locations in the centre as well as some surrounding areas.

‘Run amok’

A heavy police presence was seen in the city from late afternoon. Some shops in the city centre closed early.

BBC reporter Grant Sherlock said the window of Mills City Express store, in Colmore Row, was smashed by youths wielding a bin.

He said some had then run into the store before emerging with goods in their hands.

Vans of police in riot gear soon arrived and the youths dispersed.

Shortly after, another group broke through the metal security shutter of the Jessops store in Temple Row and cameras and electrical equipment were taken from inside, he said.

The Pandora jewellers shop in Birmingham city centre is attacked The Pandora jewellers shop in Birmingham city centre was attacked

In New Street, a front window of the Adidas store was smashed and empty coat hangers littered the street outside.

Another eyewitness, Chris Scrivens, said youths had “run amok” in the grounds around the cathedral.

“I saw one guy put a window through of a shop. Another one picked up the debris.

“They were kicking over motorcycles,” he said.

Police in riot gear were positioned in several parts of the city centre, with some advising onlookers to get off the streets.

‘Twitter intelligence’

Arrests were made for various offences, including violent disorder and aggravated burglary.

Some parts of the city centre remain cordoned off as forensic officers examine scenes of disorder.

But all roads were open on Tuesday morning and the city “open for business as usual”, police said.

Police said they had been aware of “Twitter intelligence” from lunchtime on Monday, suggesting there would be trouble in the city during the evening.

McDonald's window broken A window at McDonald’s was broken

The disturbances started during the early evening. Later on Monday, at 23:45 BST, the West Midlands force confirmed the police station in Holyhead Road was on fire.

The force also reported some of its cars had come under attack in Holyhead Road.

Ambulance crews said were called to 34 incidents until just after 03:00 BST on Tuesday.

The majority of calls were to reports of people being assaulted.

Injuries included cuts and bruises to the head and a dislocated knee.

Assistant chief ambulance officer Tracey Morrell said: “The majority of incidents have been as a result of assaults, but thankfully most have not been too serious.”

There were no reports of any serious injuries as a result of the disorder, police said.

The violence in Birmingham followed a third evening of rioting across London, with fires lit and stores looted in a number of areas.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said the incidents in Birmingham had been “mindless criminality”.

She said: “Obviously we have to have a debate and consider whether there are underlying reasons and learn some of the lessons potentially from some of these incidents as well.”

Councillor Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of the city council, said the authority was making every effort possible to clear up any damage and bring normality back to the city.

He said earlier: “We’d stress to retailers, workers and shoppers alike that the city remains very much open for business and would encourage them to come in as normal.”

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