Shops and cars damaged in Bristol disorder

Trouble spread across several areas of Bristol

Shops have been damaged and cars set on fire after disorder broke out in parts of Bristol.

About 150 people are said to have been involved in the trouble in several areas, including in the city centre and the Cabot Circus and Broadmead areas.

Avon and Somerset Police said four arrests were made but more were expected as CCTV is reviewed.

The violence came as trouble spread across London for a third day and was replicated in cities across England.

A police spokesman said the force had been prepared for the possibility of disorder following events in other parts of the UK and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

Start Quote

I didn't want to go to sleep until I was absolutely sure the violence had moved on from our area. ”

End Quote Andy Valentine St Pauls resident

The disturbances were eventually brought to an end in the early hours.

Police said the Stokes Croft and St Werburghs areas of Bristol were also affected in what the force described as a "volatile situation".

Windows at the Tesco Express store in Stokes Croft, which was targeted during disturbances in April, were damaged but the store was open for business.

BBC reporter Neil Bennett, who witnessed some of the disturbances, said he had arrived in Gloucester Road about 01:30 BST.

"There were bottles being thrown at police who were controlling the situation very well," he said.

"It was quite scary and lively and there were lots of bottles and bricks being thrown but the police seemed to get it under control.

"There were lots of people with masks and shirts over their faces but they largely just disappeared into the darkness as the police arrived.

"We moved on to St Pauls where we saw a car on fire. It must have only been lit a few minutes ago so we called the police and fire brigade.

Disturbances 'wrong'

"People were starting to congregate and film it on their mobile phones when the police arrived and took control.

Mr Bennett said residents in St Pauls - who described the disturbances as "wrong - reacted to the fires in bins by moving them away from cars nearby.

Another eyewitness, Andy Valentine, from St Pauls said he saw police clashing with gangs.

"We could hear there were problems not too far from us and then suddenly came to where we lived," he said.

"After about half an hour, the police managed to get the rioters to move on.

"I didn't want to go to sleep until I was absolutely sure the violence had moved on from our area.

Two police officers guarding a shop Police chiefs said there had been "sporadic and violent incidents" in the city

"I've never seen anything like this before in my life."

Ch Supt Jon Stratford said the violence was not on the same scale as had happened in London.

"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," he said.

"We will always respect the right of any individual or group to take part in a peaceful protest.

"But when disorder occurs, we have a duty to the wider community to do everything we can to calm the situation and restore order and prevent criminality."

All political parties on Liberal Democrat-controlled Bristol City Council condemned the disorder.

In a joint statement party leaders said they looked forward to the perpetrators being brought to justice.

It also paid tribute to the fire brigade and the police which it said struck a good balance between sensitive community policing and providing a firm highly-visible presence.

A football match between Bristol City and Swindon Town planned for Tuesday evening has been called off for safety reasons.

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