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  1. ITV Report

Pickles: riots repeat 'can not be ruled out'

A fire rages during the riots in Salford last year Photo:

A repeat of last summer's riots in Manchester and other English cities cannot be ruled out, a senior Government minister acknowledged today.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the chances of further large scale disturbances were now "slightly less likely" after communities had shown they wanted to take back their streets, but said that nobody was complacent.

"People are kind of reluctant to say it can never happen again because, God forbid, if it was to happen, people who said that would look foolish," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.

"But I do think we have looked towards dealing with some of the problems and I think one of the reasons it is less likely to happen is things like closed-circuit television which has ensured that the rioters were being arrested well beyond Christmas time."

One year on from the outbreak of the trouble, Mr Pickles said police had been unprepared for looting to take place on such a wide scale.

"This was about straightforward thievery. It was Gucci-rioting, people wanting to get wide-screen televisions, phones, the latest trainers, fancy furniture and the like," he said.

"It looked for about 36 hours that it was going to be a consequence-free crime.

"The police were ready for a political riot or a riot with a particular cause but they were not ready to deal with people who just wanted to smash down shops and loot things inside."