David Cameron today gave the go-ahead for police to use water cannons on rioters after children as young as nine looted stores and made off with bottles of wine and vodka in fresh violence that flared around the UK yesterday.

The children wore tracksuits and unlike hardened older thugs they innocently disregarded covering their faces as they ran through the shattered glass of supermarkets to fill their pockets with looted goods.

But today, the police were given the green light to use water cannons with 24 hours’ notice. The Prime Minister said that plans had been put in place to deal with the disorder using water cannons – making it the first time they would be used on the streets of mainland Britain.

‘Whatever resources the police need they will get. What ever tactics they feel they need they will have legal backing to do so.’

Mr Cameron said that the police would be checking offenders ‘picture by picture’ and they would not let ‘phoney human rights’ stand in the way of bringing rioters to justice.

He said that something was ‘seriously wrong’ with society ‘when you see children as young as 12 or 13 looting and laughing’.

Mr Cameron insisted the ‘fightback’ by police was succeeding today after a fourth night of rioting across the country. He said a ‘more robust approach’ by Scotland Yard last night had prevented a repeat of the worst trouble.

The PM said it was ‘simply not acceptable’ that violence was taking place and had spread to Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham overnight.

‘We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets.’

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