Leicester

Riots: Officers recalled by Leicestershire Police

Damaged shop in Leicester
Image caption Windows were smashed and shops looted, according to witnesses

Leicestershire Police have cancelled officers' leave to try to prevent a repeat of disorder in the city centre.

Fourteen people, aged between 14 and 50, have been arrested on suspicion of offences such as criminal damage, burglary and violent disorder.

The disorder was focused on areas including Highcross Shopping Centre, Granby Street, Humberstone Gate and around the cultural quarter.

One nightclub owner described how gangs smashed windows and looted shops.

Leicestershire Police said large numbers of officers, along with the force helicopter, were deployed to combat the disorder and disperse those causing damage.

Ch Supt Rob Nixon said: "We have cancelled all officers' rest days so any officer that was due to be on rest days today has now been notified that they are no longer on rest days and it is compulsory 12 hour shifts.

"The public are giving us some fantastic support and there is a recognition out there that we are doing as much as we can."

A clean-up operation has been under way in the city throughout Wednesday.

'Swarms of youths'

Elliot Jacobs, general manager of Cecil Jacobs camera shop which was damaged, said: "We're having the door boarded up so we are open for business as usual.

"We will make sure the doors are secure for the evening but we can trade as normal."

Ch Supt Nixon added: "We would like to thank the community for their support during the evening, people have been helping us with our policing operation by passing on any intelligence or rumours they have heard about possible disturbances or criminal acts.

"We would like to reassure the public that we will continue to monitor the situation and carry out high visibility patrols in the city centre and investigate all incidents reported."

James Cockerill, who owns two pubs and a nightclub in the city, said: "There were swarms of hooded Asian, black and white youths in their 20s, and some as young as 12, being hounded out of Leicester city centre at around midnight.

"Thankfully, my businesses - two gay pubs and a gay nightclub - have not been affected, but my staff and managers have barricaded the premises. They were very shaken by what they saw."

'Senseless criminality'

Two Age UK ambulances were torched, one of which was completely destroyed.

A charity spokesman said more than £30,000 of damage had been caused.

The ambulances were used to transport elderly people, many with dementia, to and from day centres.

Leicester's mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, said he had seen children aged under 12 taking part in the riots.

Image caption Some vehicles in a car park in Yeoman Street were firebombed including an Age Concern bus

"I was totally bemused really because this wasn't any sort of protest or anything that had any meaning to it all. These were kids.

"What on earth do their parents think they are doing letting them run around the city centre doing this sort of damage?"

Leicester East MP, Keith Vaz, said: "I strongly condemn the violence of groups of youth in Leicester last night.

"The damage this senseless criminality has caused will not be tolerated, however we need to get to the bottom of the reasons why this tiny minority have behaved in this disgraceful way."

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