As tensions rose following trouble in Birmingham, the first signs of unrest in Wolverhampton came around 3pm, when a gang gathered in the car park of an Asda supermarket near Molineux.
Dozens of shoppers were locked inside before police arrived and evacuated the store. Like many outlets around the UK, it was then shut for the rest of the day.
Around a quarter of an hour later, reports of missiles being fired at Staveley Police Station, in nearby Whitmore Reans, began to emerge, before a firework was released in Queen Square around 4.30pm and the focus of the unrest moved to Wolverhampton city centre.
As witnesses looked on in alarm, a breakaway group of youths – part of a larger crowd that had gathered near the city’s Prince Albert statue – were pursued by police as they unleashed a wave of vandalism on the likes of Marks & Spencer, Next, T-Mobile and Burton’s.
Police wielding riot shields and helmets were attacked with bottles around the same time by gangs that had formed in King Street, Princess Street, Wheeler’s Fold and Wulfruna Street.
Opposite Wolverhampton Art Gallery, bouncers at the Lady Wulfrun pub invited passers-by inside to shelter from the escalating violence.
By 5pm, windows were being smashed at Market Street’s Number 1 Pizza, Coral bookies and TA Henn jewellers, as well as the RBS bank and Tap and Spile pub on Princess Street.
At approximately 5.30pm, after police had formed lines at either end of Queen Street, violence erupted as the crowd attacked businesses with weapons, their fists and feet.
By 6pm, the thugs had moved towards the city centre and the police began to take control of the situation, patrolling the streets and stopping cars as they approached the city from the ring road.
‘Excellent CCTV of offenders in Wolverhampton,’ Supt Mark Payne posted on Twitter, where he also revealed more than 20 arrests had been made ‘for various offences’.
As with other parts of the UK affected by rioting, Wolverhampton’s clean-up operations were well underway this morning, with Facebook pages encouraging people to get on board popping up on the social networking site shortly after the situation in the city had calmed down.