Industry body the BRC is to seek “urgent reassurances” from Home Secretary Theresa May that everything possible is being done to address “escalating lawlessness” on the streets of London and other cities after three nights of rioting resulting in the destruction and looting of stores.

The BRC has demanded “intelligence-led information” to help retailers protect their properties and reassurances that those responsible for vandalism and theft will be punished.

British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said:“The shocking levels of lawlessness breaking out across the UK are hitting the heart of our communities.

“The police have shown great courage in facing the vandals but it is imperative retailers know that resources and plans are in place to prevent any repeat of this trouble.

“Targeting local shops as an expression of anger and frustration is mindless. These criminal acts destroy community resources, hurting local businesses and threatening people’s jobs. Staff are being intimidated and traumatised. Those responsible must be prosecuted and punished. Retailers and their staff are particularly vulnerable and need protecting.

“As well as the immediate bills caused by damage and theft, there will be longer-term costs. Inevitably some businesses which have been attacked will never open their doors again. Banks need to offer good credit arrangements to those targeted so as many as possible have a chance to refit and reopen.

The organisation set out a series of points that it wants to Government to address including: -

assurances the police and fire services are adequately resourced and equipped, and are authorised to use robust operational tactics to close down situations quickly;

assurances there will be resolute pursuit of offenders with effective prosecutions, in contrast to the West End protests earlier this year;

immediate support to help shopkeepers protect their properties, including timely intelligence and practical assistance in securing and clearing up after attacks;

early discussions on how affected communities can be helped to recover, given the likelihood that a significant number of small shops will fail following the attacks;

joint discussions with the insurance industry to ensure affordable insurance remains available in the affected areas and more widely to the sector;

joint discussions with banks to ensure short to medium-term credit arrangements enable retailers to refit and re-open.