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Radio Manchester car attacked in riots

The BBC Manchester radio car and a car belonging to a reporter have been destroyed during riots in Salford.

Local radio services across many parts of the UK tore up it schedules again last night to cover more violence and looting including in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Salford and Liverpool.

In Salford, a BBC Radio Manchester reporter had parked her own car alongside the radio car, some distance from the shopping precinct where trouble had broken out, when she and a colleague arrived to cover the story. But the crowd moved from the precinct and turned into the road.

A spokeswoman for the BBC told us: “Within minutes of leaving the car and standing by BBC Radio Manchester’s radio-car, bricks were hurled at both reporters. They were lucky not to get hit and were fortunate in being able to run around the corner where there was a line of police officers wearing riot gear.”

BBC Radio Manchester Managing Editor John Ryan told RadioToday.co.uk: “The loss of our radio car occurred quite early in the evening. The reporters attending were trained in this kind of situation and had bailed out as the crowd turned nasty. I was in the studio and heard the still transmitting car as it was turned over. It was a terrible night for Manchester and I’m only thankful my brilliant team stayed safe.”

Meanwhile BBC Radio Nottingham journalist Kevin Stanley broadcast on 5 Live after witnessing problems near his home in the city. We hear the BBC even helped Gem 106 to park their branded cars in their car park in Nottingham to protect them from possible attack.

LBC have told us they’ve received 35,000 calls from listeners in the last 24 hours. That compares with 20,000 in the previous 24 hour period. Mayor of London Boris Johnson was interviewed live this morning by breakfast host Nick Ferrari. He told Ferrari: “I’ve made it absolutely clear to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister that the case for cutting police numbers, never very strong in my view, has been seriously undermined by what’s been going on over the last few days and we certainly want to keep police numbers very high in London.” Throughout the night, Capital FM ran hourly news bulletins to reflect the major disturbances in the Capital regions of Manchester, Birmingham and the East Midlands.

Key 103 in Manchester ditched network programming so that Sam Walker, Michelle Livesey and Hugh Ferris could take live updates from the rioting in Salford and Manchester right through to midnight last night. BBC News 24 crossed live to Key 103’s News Editor John Pickford who witnessed rioters setting fire to a shop on Market Street. Reporter Michelle Ponting who was also in the thick of the rioting was also providing live updates for Al Jazeera TV and Key 103 bulletins came live from the city centre.

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