“It was just like a rampage”: two taken to hospital following mass brawl between youths in Erith
13:32 20 September 2016
Police were called to a large fight between youths yesterday evening
An eyewitness to the mass brawl between youths at Northumberland Heath has described it as being ‘just like a rampage’.
Two males, aged 15 and 19, were taken to hospital following the disturbance, which involved more than 100 youths, many wearing school uniforms.
Police and officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group were called to the scene at 5.40pm yesterday. Seven males, aged between 15 and 21 years, were arrested and taken to south London police stations.
Landlady Sharon McHattie at the nearby Duchess of Kent pub said: “It was just like a rampage. They had all sorts of weapons - big knives and golf clubs, bats and all sorts. It was just horrible.
“Early on there were a few customers about, but after about 8.30 there was no-one. People were worried to go out.
“They went up on the heath and all sorts happened by the shops up there.
“The park should be shut. It is open 24/7 and the kids can just come and hang about there.
“This will not be the end of it. The amount that were there and getting hyped up - it is not going away.”
A Brook Street resident, who did not want to be named, said she was ‘shocked’ to see children in school uniform involved in the fracas.
“This is the first time for a long, long while that we’ve had gang-related problems round here,” she added.
“They were all youngsters, a lot of them were in school uniform - that was the shock, seeing them in the uniforms.
“They’re still youngsters - it’s quite a shock when they’re all en masse like that, I didn’t want to go outside.”
A spokesperson for St Columba’s School said: “We are very shocked by the events at Northumberland Heath last night and are working with the police and the local authority to establish the facts.
“If any of our students were found to be involved, they will be dealt with appropriately.”
A Bexley Council spokesperson commented: “We are working with the police and have a partnership meeting today to establish the facts, and would reassure the community that we will do all we can do make sure that any offenders are brought to justice for their actions.”
Just before the fight in Northumberland Heath, there was a disturbance between a large group of youths in Bexley Broadway at around 4.30pm.
Police dispersed this group of people and they are believed to have been involved in the fight later in ther evening.
Officers are investigating the circumstances of what happened in the run up to the incident and appealing for anyone who was involved or who witnessed the disturbance to speak to them.
Borough Commander of Bexley chief superintendent Jeff Boothe said: “This incident was a large-scale fight in a public area and would have been shocking to anyone who witnessed it.
“The safety of young people in our borough and the wider community is paramount. We are actively investigating what happened and take matters like this extremely seriously.
“There will be extra patrols in the borough to provide reassurance in the community.
“I would appeal to anyone with information about what happened to contact us. They can speak to their schools liaison officer or they can do this anonymously through Crimestoppers.”
Speaking about the scale of the incident, Chief Superintendent Boothe said: “In total over 40 calls were made to police by members of the public and a number of incidents occurred across at least five different locations.
“Every available officer within Bexley was deployed to assist with the incident and support from the TSG was provided.
“We were not able to attend and speak with every person who called police due to the large volume of calls and multiple incidents occurring. The calls had to be prioritised based on the risks and scale of disorder at each venue.
“Officers will be contacting those people who contacted police over the next coming days as part of the investigation, and to provide further reassurance.”
Anyone with information or witnesses to the disturbance can call Bexley police on 020 8284 9146, the police non-emergency line on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.
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