Insurers have won a multimillion-pound compensation fight after a High Court judge ruled that a warehouse was damaged by rioters during "widespread civil disorder" in London two years ago.
Legislation governing police stipulates that compensation for "damage by riot" should be paid out of police funds.
Insurers said the destruction and looting of a Sony warehouse in Enfield, north London, in August 2011 fell into that category, but London mayor Boris Johnson - whose office funds the Metropolitan Police - disagreed.
Mr Justice Flaux on Thursday ruled in favour of insurers after a High Court hearing in London.
The judge concluded that losses arose out of damage caused by "persons riotously and tumultuously assembled" within the meaning of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886. But he decided that "consequential losses" - including loss of profit and rent - were not "in principle recoverable" under the legislation.
Mr Justice Flaux said insurers wanted compensation for loss and damage to property and stock, for loss of rent and for "business interruption". The judge said insurers claimed that losses added up to more than £60 million and their claims included a £9.8 million claim for lost profit and a £1.6 million claim for lost rent.
He said he had to be sure that the "specific" property was damaged by rioters - merely placing the incident "in the wider context of civil disorder" was not enough.
He concluded there was "no doubt" the elements of the statutory offence of riot were satisfied. But he decided that MPs did not intend the legislation to extend to "consequential losses".
The warehouse was destroyed late on August 8, 2011 during "the widespread civil disorder and rioting which took place in London and elsewhere" after a man was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, north London, said the judge.
Mark Duggan - a passenger in a minicab stopped by police - was shot on August 4. An inquest into his death is due to start in London on Monday.