By now most people have probably heard this interview:
The basic explanation for the looting was that the people involved thought there was very little chance of being caught and even if they were caught they wouldn't get a serious punishment, maybe just an ASBO.
So part of the motivation for looting was the perception that the British justice system is not punishing people properly for crimes. This is precisely what the Daily Mail and others like them keep telling us. Has that message got through and had the unintended effect of convincing people that crime pays?
Or are they actually right? Given that the first people convicted (in Manchester at least) got seemingly light sentences (one got 10 weeks the other 16 weeks in youth custody) maybe the justice system really isn't providing a deterrent?