Far-right groups have been linked to the rioting in Manchester and Salford. Police say thugs connected to extreme political groups may have helped orchestrate serious disorder and looting in both cities.
Chief Constable Peter Fahy said he believed that organised crime groups were behind the most violent trouble in Manchester and around Salford Shopping City, in Pendleton.
But officers and community leaders also believe right-wing activists were involved.
One Salford councillor, who asked not to be named, said: "It is common knowledge that elements of these organisations were on the streets, in the thick of it, when it was happening."
In Manchester, the yobs’ main aim seemed to be wanton looting.
But in Salford, officers came under particularly ferocious attack.
Six officers were injured, including a superintendent, who was struck by a brick.
Around 200 youths chased officers, looted shops and torched cars a supermarket and a council office.
Mr Fahy claimed the attacks on officers in Salford could be a backlash against recent operations to disrupt ‘untouchable’ criminals in the city.
Mr Fahy said: "Salford seemed to have a lot more organisation around it.
"It was of a different tone. We have given a hard time to persistent criminals and organised crime outfits – no doubt some of those saw this as an opportunity to get back to us.
"If they see an opportunity to bait local police, they will take it."
He described how in both cities there was clear evidence of criminal planning
"You could see some people on mobile phones outside shops calling their mates saying ‘come to this one, we’ve managed to break in’."
It was the worst disorder in Salford has seen since the summer of 1992 when scores of cars, a carpet warehouse, and the unemployment office in Ordsall were set on fire. Firefighters and a police dog handler were shot at.
That was triggered by a police crack down on criminals and the seizure by officers of a Sierra Cosworth car belonging to one criminal.
Manchester Evening News