Northamptonshire Police issue warnings after stones thrown at police and false riot rumours spread

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EIGHT people were arrested last night after a group of youths started throwing stones at vehicles and police officers.

The disorder took place along the Wellingborough Road in Northampton.

No-one was injured, however there was limited damage to a police van.

The incident follows the arrest of two teenagers last night on suspicion of inciting or promoting violence on social networking sites after false rumours of trouble in the county spread across the internet.

Police, as well as the Chronicle & Echo, were yesterday inundated with calls about alleged “copycat” disturbances in Northampton town centre, Abington Park, the Weston Favell Centre and elsewhere across the county, following shocking violence in London. None were true.

Senior officers confirmed last night they had not received a single report of either a riot or mass break-out of violent disorder anywhere in the county.

The two arrested in the county were aged 18 and 19.

Chief Inspector Fay Tennet revealed extra police had been dispatched onto the county’s streets and would remain on patrol for the next few days, but said the decision was not made in anticipation of any trouble.

Speaking to the Chron yesterday, she said: “We are obviously well aware people are feeling frightened and I think that is the worrying thing. There are obviously some irresponsible people that are either starting rumours or spreading rumours on Facebook or through text messages.

“We are identifying those people and officers are visiting them to tell them to stop and to nip these rumours in the bud.”

False rumours spread across the internet yesterday about bogus fires breaking out in various shops, buildings and shopping centres in Northamptonshire, as well as planned riots at various times of the day.

Police said they were aware some shopkeepers in Northamptonshire had even closed early for the day in anticipation of trouble, but denied that was following police warnings. Some market traders also packed up their stalls early.

Ch Inps Tennet added: “People have obviously been quite fearful. I understand some shops have been putting their shutters down, that is certainly not a message we are putting out from the police.

“We are not expecting any trouble or violence here.”