Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a flying visit to Chippenham last night despite ongoing riots in cities across the country.

Mr Clegg, a father-of-three, addressed Liberal Democrat councillors in the Neeld Hall after a walkabout in Birmingham, where he was booed by members of the public.

The father-of-three, who was the first senior figure in government to visit Tottenham on Monday, said he was taking a hard line on rioters.

“People should not be allowed to go around wreaking destruction,” he said.

“It’s criminality, nothing more, nothing less, and it must end. Youngsters should understand if they do it again they will be arrested and they will have a criminal record, and that will cast a shadow over them for a long time.”

He added that over the next week, people should expect to see an increasing number of arrests in the clampdown on rioting, and said he would support police over sending in the Army.

“Some of these rioters appear to be flaunting their identities and not even covering up their faces,” he said.

“They need to learn there are consequences to these actions. It’s not a bit of fun when you ruin someone’s livelihood or home. We need to allow the police to get on with their jobs. It’s what they’re paid to do. We should trust them to keep our streets safe. They’ve got the resources and we should let them get on and do it.”

Mr Clegg also had a comment to make on parking rises in Chippenham, which traders fear will turn shoppers away and create a ‘ghost town’.

“I appreciate that this is a huge local concern,” he said.

“I’m all for local councils having the power to do what they want, but the aim has got to be to keep the economic lifeblood of our towns and communities going, and it’s self-defeating to whack up charges of whatever kind in a way which then chases away business from the very communities you’re trying to serve, and that’s what councils have to get right.”

Chippenham MP Duncan Hames said he was delighted Mr Clegg had been able to visit the town, and said rioting should not affect people’s views on teenagers.

“It’s an enormous privilege to have him come and speak to us at any time, let alone a time like this,” he said.

“We must remember that the teenagers completing these terrible atrocities are only a tiny percentage of the young people out there, many of whom do wonderful things.”