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Cars set alight during disturbances in Medway towns


Cars were damaged and set alight during disturbances involving youths in the Medway towns area of Kent.

Kent Police said the first incident took place at 20:30 BST when there were confrontations between youths and officers in Gillingham High Street.

Firefighters were called to three car fires in New Street, Maidstone Road and Eldon Street in Chatham between 00:55 BST and 01:30 BST on Tuesday.

Eleven people have been arrested in connection with the disturbances.

They are currently being questioned by officers at Medway Police Station.

'Mindless violence'

Police said crews from the fire service had also tackled a number of rubbish blazes in Rainham and Gillingham shortly before 02:30 BST.

A number of other cars were also damaged during the course of the evening, according to the force.

Officers believe the youths travelled to the area by train.

Deputy chief constable Alan Pughsley said: "These were mindless acts of vandalism committed by a small minority who have travelled to the area intent on causing damage.

"Their aim was to try and create chaos, and they failed in that, thanks to swift and robust police action.

"By deploying considerable resources to the Medway area we swiftly managed to contain the incidents and have arrested significant numbers of people in connection with the criminal damage.

"Thankfully, no-one was injured, but this has caused serious damage to innocent residents' property.

"Preparations are also under way for any further outbreaks of violence and we will be monitoring the transport networks and streets to ensure further disruption or criminality is contained."

Ann Barnes, who chairs Kent Police Authority, urged parents to make sure they knew where their children were following the disturbances in the Medway towns.

She said: "I was horrified by the scenes in London and parents all across the country tonight need to know where their children are and what they are doing."

Rodney Chambers, the leader of the Medway Council, said: "The council is in constant contact with the police and we are working jointly to clean up the damage caused."