3,000 arrests in London riots investigation

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Almost 3,000 people suspected of offences in London during the August riots have been arrested, according to new figures released today.

One of the Metropolitan Police officers leading the inquiry - which has now been in place for two months - described the investigation as "a marathon".

Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Greany said Operation Withern consisted of "a strong robust team" looking for anyone involved in the riots and looting which spread across the capital, before affecting other areas of England.

"We are reviewing many, many pieces of CCTV which is one of the main investigative leads and there are many thousands of hours of footage to be viewed.

"As we view that, more suspects become apparent," he said.

Latest figures from Scotland Yard revealed that at least 2,952 suspects were arrested, with at least 1,774 charged.

Some 317 have been sentenced, and 96 of those received custodial terms.

A series of dawn raids took place in Hackney, north-east London today, leading to arrests for violent disorder and burglary.

Mr Greany added: "This is not a short-term operation, it is a marathon not a sprint. Every day we get more leads and every day we make more arrests."

He also warned offenders who had not yet been caught that they would be arrested.

"We will get you eventually. There is enough CCTV imagery out there to identify you," he said.

"Someone will know who you are. Someone will tell us who you are and we will come and get you."

Shortly after 6am officers gathered in Hillside Road, Stamford Hill, where they smashed open the front door of a 22-year-old suspected rioter.

The man, who is believed to be part of a local gang, was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder in Clarence Road, Hackney on August 8 and driven away in a police van.

A search team entered the terraced home and found what they believed to be the clothes worn by the man on the night of the riots.

The officers then began a detailed search of the premises, which was expected to take several hours.

Two other raids also took place in Hackney this morning.

A 23-year-old man was arrested for violent disorder in the borough on August 8, and a boy, 17, was held on suspicion of burglary at a convenience store on the same date.

All three arrested males were taken to east London police stations where they remain in custody.

Detectives from Operation Withern have been working on over 1,333 crime scenes, and more than 430 DNA submissions have been sent to science labs for examination.