RIOT police are out in force in Eltham tonight as hundreds of people gather to “defend the area from looters”.

Dozens of officers have kettled around 300 people outside the McDonalds restaurant on Eltham High Street, which escaped the widespread rioting seen elsewhere in south east London last night.

Members of the crowd say they are "here to stop what's happened elsewhere happening here" and "defend the area from looters".

However, it has been reported that at around 8pm the crowd began marching towards Lewisham, looking to confront people who took part in last night's riots.

But police managed to drive the crowd back towards Eltham High Street, where they were still being contained at around 12.25am.

As the crowd was pinned back against the McDonalds restaurant, one man was overheard speaking on his phone, saying: “It's going to kick off. A n****r is going to get it tonight.”