A Wiltshire police Land Rover and trailer were trashed after officers left them parked outside a branch of Tesco in Bristol at the centre of community strife.
The store was attacked by protesters amid scenes of rioting last Thursday and the £100,000 Land Rover Discovery and its trailer were caught in the crossfire. Police are still estimating the cost of the damage, which is reported to be severe.
Some 60 Wiltshire officers were drafted in to help Avon and Somerset Police counter demonstrations against the Tesco Express in the Stokes Croft area of the city.
The brought along with them two regular PSU police vans and the special Land Rover and trailer, of which they had only recently taken delivery.
While the Wiltshire officers went to the aid of their Bristol colleagues, they left the van parked outside the Tesco store which was then stormed by hundreds of protesters. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage was done to the store and eight police officers were injured, though none of the Wiltshire contingent was hurt.
Rioters hurled chairs and bricks and tried to set fire to the glass-fronted store while two security guards were trapped inside.
A hoard of petrol bombs were earlier recovered from a notorious squat opposite, called locally Telepathic Heights.
A spokesman for Wiltshire police said: “We give mutual aid to Avon and Somerset Police and when they called us up we sent 60 officers, a couple of PSU vehicles and the Land Rover Discovery and trailer.
“During the unrest the Land Rover and its trailer were both very badly damaged but the value of the damage is still being investigated.”