By Marcus Leach

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that business affected by the riots that have swept across the country are facing huge costs.

At present the full cost of the riots, that started in London on Friday and have since spread to other cities in the UK, is not known as many shops have ceased trading in areas of violence.

The BRC added that London's reputation could be hurt, a view supported by the the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) also said that the damage could be long-term and far-reaching.

"The violence that we've seen over the last three nights - it's not only against individuals but it's destroying the very fabric of society, not just for now but for years to come and that's why the government has to get a grip of this," the BCC's director general David Frost said.

"We're looking for very clear leadership from the prime minister to say that this wanton vandalism is going to be clamped down on as of today and we will not see any further moves or action as we've seen over recent days."

Prime Minister David Cameron flew home early from his family holiday to hold emergency talks, and whilst he has promised to restore order he will need to follow up his words with meaningful actions.

"People should be in no doubt that we will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain's streets," Mr Cameron said.

Looting has largely been in major stores, although the BRC said that retailers of all sizes had suffered damage as events rapidly spiralled out of control.

"There are huge costs being incurred and employment lost because shops are closing down across the capital early. Some shops won't be opening tomorrow," Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said.

"The problem is that here we are, we're on the verge of the Olympics when we're hoping to send a great message to the world about what a great capital this is to come to.

"We mustn't underestimate the fact that the pictures on our television screens were beamed to the world last night (Monday)."

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