British celebrities joined the nation in condemning the riots across the country, taking to Twitter t convey their disgust.

Among them is Piers Morgan, who wrote: "Millions of people are suffering in this financial crisis, but not looting/rioting/pillaging – no sympathy for these yobs whatsoever."

Lord Alan Sugar, who was the former chairman of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, tweeted: "Feeling very depressed there seems there is nothing we can do about these thugs even if they are caught they will be out within hours."

England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson was himself caught up in the violence when it hit Birmingham He said: "Awful scenes around the country. Saw it first hand in Birmingham last night. Great to see people coming together to help with the clean up"

News of the riots is making the headlines overseas, with one of the world's most popular tweeters, pop star Justin Bieber, tweeting: "WHOAH…been out of the loop all day. to all the people of the UK I hope you are ok. my prayers go out to you and the amazing people there."

In contrast to the messages of anger and disbelief across Twitter was positive action on the streets.  A Twitter account, @Riotcleanup, has already been set up and has more than 33,000 followers. The hashtag #riotcleanup is also being used so people can co-ordinate the start of cleanup efforts in the affected areas of London.

The movement has received backing from a number of celebrities, including Stephen Fry: "I do hope that if I was in London now I'd be as good & brave & kind as all those who are agreeing to meet & help clean up #RiotCleanup"

Radio presenter and comedian Dave Gorman said: "Went to bed depressed by the news. Now feeling strangely emotional as I read about @riotcleanup #riotcleanup Amazing."

Legendary DJ Tony Blackburn urged his followers: "Lets not forget that most people in this country are great people,it's only a small minority who are doing this."

Dame Kelly Holmes suggested the authorities get the rioters back out on the streets to clean up the mess themselves: "400 people arrested(should be more) Get them a broom, 1000 bags & a pair of marigolds each & make them clean up the bloody mess with parents!"

TV and radio personality Dermot O'Leary had a positive message to share: "Out and about this morning. Already seeing strangers being more considerate/friendly to each other. Makes me proud. #londonwillprevail"