Copycat attacks spread to Birmingham and beyond

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The unrest seen in London continued to spread to the rest of England last night, as a police station in Nottingham was firebombed by youths.

There were "copycat attacks" across the Midlands, where police made scores of arrests on a night of violence. Canning Circus Police Station in Nottingham was attacked by a group of 30-40 youths but no injuries were reported, Nottinghamshire Police said.

The force later added, via its official Twitter feed, that the fire had been extinguished, with the scene being preserved for forensic evidence. It said at least eight people have been arrested in connection with the firebombing. The events marked an escalation in the disturbances outside of London, which began on Monday night in Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre with a direct attack on several shops by a group whose clear purpose was looting.

West Midlands Police made a total of 80 arrests last night as fresh disturbances led to looting and vehicles being set alight in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. But police said the disorder was not as severe as Monday's looting in Birmingham city centre, which led to 142 arrests and 13 people being taken to hospital.

Shops including a branch of Marks & Spencer and a hi-fi store were again targeted in Birmingham last night, although two groups of youths were largely kept away from the city centre by riot police. A car and a van were set alight in Albert Street and Bordesley Street, near to the Bullring shopping complex.

A police spokeswoman added that officers had been "managing" groups of people causing disorder in several areas within the city centre during the afternoon and the evening. The police, however, dismissed rumours of incidents taking place at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

In West Bromwich there were reports of a large group of people in the town centre and two vehicles being set on fire. Earlier in the evening, police in Wolverhampton responded to reports of a large group of people in the city centre after shops were damaged. Coaches operated by National Express would not serve routes into Birmingham or Wolverhampton "until further notice", the firm said last night. Birmingham coach station was closed.

After remaining quiet for most of the evening, Smithdown Road in Liverpool, was closed by police around midnight after 200 rioters starting hurling missiles at officers.

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