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Jailed rioters 'from 44 countries'

Thugs from 44 foreign countries have been jailed over widespread summer rioting, prison figures show.

At least 13% of those locked up following August's anarchy were born abroad, coming from as far afield as Afghanistan, Congo, Cuba and Samoa.

But the true total could be even higher as some of those remanded in custody refused to reveal their nationality when they were brought before the courts.

Foreign looters were imprisoned for a variety of crimes including burglary, robbery, criminal damage, theft and violent disorder after thousands took to the streets to pillage shops and businesses, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

The statistics, released in response to a freedom of information request by the Daily Mail, showed Jamaicans to be the largest group of foreign nationals jailed for rioting. They were followed by Somali and Polish offenders.

Criminals from Angola, Iran, Ghana, Romania, Zambia and Zimbabwe were also handed prison terms for offences relating to the disorder between August 6 and 9.

The figures, which were taken from a snapshot of the prison population on September 9, came after Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics showed the number of children held on remand rose by almost a quarter in August when high numbers of youths joined the looting which swept through English cities.

An MoJ spokesman said: "The figures show that on September 9, 13% of those who were imprisoned for offences related to the August riots were foreign nationals.

"However, it is important to bear in mind that this is only a snapshot of the prison population on that date. It includes remand prisoners and excludes bailed suspects who had not been tried or convicted by that date. It would be misleading to suggest that it provides a complete picture of those involved in the riots."

The lawlessness fuelled five weeks of record highs for the prison population. Those jailed for offences related to rioting were sentenced to an average of 10.4 months for violent disorder and 14.1 months for burglary.


From Belfast Telegraph