Possible looters have been given a stark warning to stay away from Croydon or face the full force of the law by the council.

In a strong-worded statement, the council has sought to discourage any copycat looting like that seen in London over the weekend.

The council confirmed gangs of opportunistic looters, mostly thought to be from outside Croydon, drove into the borough in the early hours of Monday in an attempt to exploit the unrest taking place elsewhere in London.

Police, who had been waiting for their arrival, made arrests in the town centre and West Croydon’s London Road, with a number were still in custody.

The council has agreed to give police in Croydon all the help they need to stop any further trouble taking place.

CCTV and dog patrols will be deployed and the council will also publish images from CCTV cameras on its website and in print publications to help police arrest and secure convictions.

Council leader Mike Fisher said: “People seeking to exploit what has happened in Tottenham is simply unacceptable and I want to make it clear that if you are contemplating coming to Croydon to attack our businesses, you will be caught.

“Through Operation Safe for All and other joint operations, we and the police have developed a very effective operation over the last few years for identifying and catching offenders.

“Once again, the council will give as much support as it possibly can to help the police protect our town and we will also demand that the strongest action is taken against anyone guilty of a crime.

“Finally, I appeal to anybody who has any information on who is involved in these incidents to contact the police, this includes if you see someone handling or selling goods that you suspect may well have been stolen. This is an attack on our whole community and we want these criminals caught and punished as soon as possible.”

Police should be contacted either anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, the new non-emergency 101 number or 999 in an emergency.