Friday 24 November 2017

Up to 100 schoolchildren armed with 'bats and knives' involved in mass brawl

Up to 100 schoolchildren believed to have been armed with bats and knives were involved in a mass brawl that broke out in a park in south-east London.

Two people were taken to hospital and seven were arrested after the shocking scenes of violence, in which some of the children were allegedly using blocks of concrete as weapons.

Witnesses described the “absolute pandemonium” as the fight spilled onto the roads of Northumberland Heath, near Erith, prompting a police intervention with helicopters and police dogs.

Some of the children are believed to have been wearing school uniform in the brawl, which took place near the Duchess of Kent pub and close to Northumberland Heath recreation ground.

Police on the scene of the mass brawl Credit: @Shane_Newman1
Police on the scene of the mass brawl Credit: @Shane_Newman1

Footage from the fight shows dozens of young people punching and kicking a youth who had been beaten to the floor. Some of the attackers appeared to be armed with sticks as they launched kicks to his body and head.

Those involved were believed to be aged between between 12 and 19, while one social media user said the scenes of violence were like something you would expect to see in “Iraq”.

Some of them were armed with sticks as the kicked and punched the person on the floor
Some of them were armed with sticks as the kicked and punched the person on the floor

“It was just absolute pandemonium,” a witness told the Evening Standard. “There were kids screaming at each other.

“It was just scary. It was school kids, basically, all in their uniforms, with hoods up and lots with their faces covered up. Some had knives and bats and who knows what.

“There were a hell of a lot of people very concerned about it. People were out there with their children and dog walkers who did not know which way to go.”

A resident added that a group of around 20 or 30 had surrounded a youth in the car park of the nearby rugby club.

“The shouting got louder and you could hear someone being beaten,” they said. “Kids ran off in groups to all directions, some down the alley of Brook Street, others towards the rugby fields and the swing park area.

“My partner was in the park with our dog and saw a black boy with blood all over, even coming out of his eye and nose, but police were then with him. The helicopter was up for nearly two hours.”

Another resident added that she felt afraid to leave her home during the fight. "This is the first time for a long, long while that we've had gang-related problems round here," she said.

"They were all youngsters, a lot of them were in school uniform - that was the shock, seeing them in uniforms.

"They are still youngsters - it's quite a shock when they are all en masse like that. I didn't want to go outside.

"We don't know what it was over or why it even began - it's crazy."

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to "a large fight" between youngsters in Northumberland Heath in Bexley, south-east London, at around 5.40pm on Monday.

A spokesman said on Tuesday morning: "Police were called to Northumberland Heath, Bexley, at 17:40hrs on Monday 19 September, to reports of a large fight between a group of youths.

"Officers from the borough and the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG) were called to the scene. Two individuals suffered non-life threatening injuries (we await a breakdown).

"They were taken to a south London hospital by London Ambulance Service to be treated for their injuries.

"Around seven males, aged between 15 and 21 years, were arrested and taken to south London police stations."

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