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Rings of steel installed around festive markets to prevent terror attacks

Pedestrian party: Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, has barricades PICTURES: SWNS

CHRISTMAS markets have been given extra ‘rings of steel’ to protect shoppers against terror attacks — even as the threat level has been downgraded.

Large concrete and metal barriers have been installed and pedestrian areas blocked off in cities to prevent vehicles ramming into crowds.

In the zone: A wall at Edinburgh Christmas markets keeps vehicles out

Heavy police presences can be seen in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester with officers patrolling Christmas attractions that opened last week.

Visitors to the popular markets are penned in by heavy-duty blockades, built to stop vehicle-ramming attacks.

Door entry: Birmingham steel structure

The move follows a 2016 Daesh attack on a Berlin Christmas market in which 12 people were killed by a lorry, and two terror attacks at London Bridge and Westminster Bridge in 2017.

The extra measures come even after the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre -part of MI5 — lowered the terror threat level in the UK from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’ for the first time in five years.

Bobbies on the beat: Police patrol the Manchester Christmas markets

It means a terrorist attack is now ‘likely’ rather than ‘highly likely’.

Police Scotland said there would be increased patrols around Edinburgh’s busy European Christmas Market, which drew a million visitors last year.

Insp David Brady, of the City Centre Policing Team, said: ‘We will have increased high-visibility patrols throughout the city and these officers will be on hand to provide the public with any assistance they require.’