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Rioting spirals out of control

Rioters are rampaging across Britain's capital again as politicians and police chiefs tried desperately to curb the "sheer criminality".

Home Secretary Theresa May condemned chaotic scenes while Scotland Yard beefed up its presence before looting and violence spiralled out of control for a third consecutive night.

As thousands of yobs took to the streets across the London districts including Hackney, Lewisham and Peckham, Scotland Yard's most senior officer called on parents to contact their children and urged the public to clear London's streets.

The fresh wave of violence also spread north to central Birmingham, with police saying shop windows had been smashed and looting had taken place.

At least 215 people have been arrested and 25 charged following the riots across London over the last two days.

Acting Scotland Yard Commissioner Tim Godwin attacked the "gratuitous" violence and appealed directly to families. He said: "I do urge now that parents start contacting their children and asking where their children are. I'm imploring that people within those communities actually start clearing the streets to enable my police officers to deal with the criminality that's occurring in front of them."

Mrs May said: "I think this is about sheer criminality. That is what we have seen on the streets. The violence we've seen, the looting we've seen, the thuggery we've seen - this is sheer criminality, and let's make no bones about it."

The father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor urged young people to stop rioting. Richard Taylor said: "I am calling on the youth of Southwark to stop the violence. In Damilola's memory, I implore them to respect their community and show calm.

"Whatever their grievance, this wanton destruction is unacceptable."

In Birmingham, police said officers had made nine arrests, six out of which were juveniles. A West Midlands Police spokesman said four people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary, four were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder, and one arrest related to an alleged breach of the peace.

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