LONDON — The rioting and looting that hit Manchester was an act of "senseless violence and senseless criminality" on a scale not witnessed in 30 years, a senior police officer said Tuesday.
The violence, committed by people with "nothing to protest against", has brought "shame on the streets" of the city, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police said.
"These are pure and simple criminals running wild tonight," said Shewan.
"They have nothing to protest against there has been no spark. This has been senseless violence and senseless criminality on a scale I have never witnessed before."
Shewan, who joined the force after moving to the city in 1981, said the violence had ripped the "heart out of two great cities" and appealed to the public to "think very carefully about who they support" when the operation to catch the looters begins.
"We have extensive CCTV of all the activity that has gone on tonight. We have made it absolutely clear that as early as tomorrow morning we will be coming to make arrests," he added.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed that 47 arrests had been made in Manchester and Salford as sporadic fires burned across the area.
Hundreds of masked youths tore through the centre of Britain's third-largest city, going on a looting spree as the worst riots for decades spread beyond London.
The youths smashed shop windows and went looting, setting fire to shops and hurling missiles at police.
Councillor Pat Karney, city centre spokesman for Manchester City Council said it was "one of the worst days in Manchester's history."
"People in Manchester and Salford are very angry about what has been done to this city and their city centres in Manchester and Salford," he said.