Hundreds of rioters clashed with police in Bristol during the early hours of this morning – looting a jewellers in a shopping mall.
Running battles broke out in the city’s St Pauls, St Werburghs and Stokes Croft areas – the scene of bloody riots just four months ago – before spilling into the city centre.
Cars, wheely bins and even a GAS MAIN were torched as a crowd of around 200 youths rampaged towards some of the city’s main stores.
Looters grabbed armfuls of goods from Thomas Sabo jewellers in Bristol’s exclusive Cabot Circus shopping centre and smashed the windows of a nearby McDonalds.
Heavily armed riot police, with dogs and batons, were brought in to quell the chaos during what they described as ”volatile” scenes. Four rioters were arrested.
A controversial Tesco store in Stokes Croft, the scene of two days of serious disorder and scores of arrests in April, also had its windows smashed.
Ch Supt Jon Stratford, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: ”There has been a series of sporadic and volatile incidents throughout the night with a small number of people intent on causing violence and criminal damage to property.
”This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in our city.”
Avon and Somerset Police claimed it was ”prepared” for the possibility of disorder following events in other areas of the country.
The force mobilised officers from around 9pm on Monday, bringing in riot police, dog handlers and a helicopter as the violence spread.
Cars were set on fire in St Pauls, flaming wheely bins strewn across the streets and even a gas main ablaze in the city’s Montpelier.
Officers said they worked closely with Bristol City Council, Avon Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service throughout the night to ensure the safety of residents.
They added that CCTV footage would be used to identify offenders.