RIOTERS FROM 44 COUNTRIES; Revealed: 1 in 7 Jailed after Summer Violence Was a Foreign National

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Byline: Rebecca Camber Crime Reporter

FOREIGN looters from 44 countries have been locked up over the riots which scarred the country in August.

Robbers, vandals and thugs from as far afield as Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia and Samoa joined in as shops were plundered and businesses set ablaze, causing millions of pounds worth of damage.

The sheer number from different corners of the globe who took part in the mayhem is one of the strongest indicators yet that the riots had nothing to do with political protest or civil unrest, but was born of greed and opportunist criminality.

Last night campaigners said any foreign national convicted of a riotrelated offence should be thrown out of the country at the earliest opportunity.

Prison statistics revealed that 14 per cent - about one in seven - of those jailed for burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage and disorder during the riots were born abroad. But the true number could be even higher as at least four per cent of those remanded in custody refused to tell police their nationality.

Jamaicans represented the largest group of foreign inmates, followed by Somali and Polish offenders. The list also included those from Colombia, Iraq, Congo, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Hundreds of other foreign suspects are facing deportation as separate figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that police have referred 367 'suspected foreign nationals' to the UK Border Agency.

That number is expected to grow as police are still hunting thousands of suspects, with experts predicting it could take up to two years to sift through all the CCTV evidence.

The Ministry of Justice has released a breakdown of the nationalities of those jailed for riot-related offences committed between August 6, when the trouble exploded in Tottenham, and August 9, when disorder had spread outside London to Manchester, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

A snapshot of the prison population on September 9 reveals that there were 153 foreign nationals and prisoners of 'unrecorded nationality' - which in most cases refers to those from the European Union - representing 18 per cent of the 865 criminals imprisoned over the riots. …