ONE of London's most senior police officers has hit out at vigilante groups, saying they are diverting police resources.

On Tuesday night, a group of hundreds of people – calling themselves the Enfield Defence League – marched through Enfield Highway and Southbury Road in a show of strength against looters who rampaged through Enfield Town on Sunday evening.

But in a television interview, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “What I don't need is these so-called vigilantes, who appeared to have been drinking too much, and are taking policing resources away from what they should have been doing – which is preventing the looting.

“They're frustrated, they're angry and that's totally understandable - the sadness of those images through the night and the night before last will affect everyone.

“But the support that we need is to allow those officers to prevent looting and prevent crime - ironically, when you see those images with no police available, the police are now having to go and do the vigilantes as well as the other problems that they've got. That needs to stop.”

A separate group – called the Enfield Community Safety Network – has been set up to convince traders to stay open to avoid the borough becoming a ghost town, and their members have been on the street in hi-vis vests for the past two days.