London

Walthamstow Central fight: Up to 200 teenagers present

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Media captionOne girl was arrested for affray after the fight, police say

Up to 200 teenagers were present at a fight near an east London Tube station on Tuesday evening, police have said.

The disturbance occured between Hoe Street and Station Approach in Walthamstow.

A boy and girl, both 16, were arrested on suspicion of affray and an 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.

Police remained at the scene on Wednesday to "ensure the group remains dispersed", said the Met.

Roads closed

There were no reports of injuries after the fight, but clumps of hair were found on the pavements near Walthamstow Central station.

Video posted on social media appeared to show several girls fighting.

Image copyright Ida
Image caption Metropolitan Police officers were called to the disturbance on Tuesday evening

Paul Ellis, switchboard controller at Central Radio Cabs in the borough, said: "We couldn't service the station all night because of the traffic caused by police closing the roads, it was really bad from 17:00 till about 21:00 and we lost custom because of it."

Police said most of the youngsters were there to watch fighting or film it on their phones.

The disturbance started at about 17:00 and the teenagers had dispersed by 20:45, police said.

'Row about a boy'

Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy tweeted: "I am furious because these young people have so much at stake and hate to see it wasted in afternoon of madness."

She wrote on Facebook that police were deployed "due to the large numbers of calls about a fight".

Image copyright Will Stroude
Image caption Pictures on social media included one showing clumps of hair weave pulled out during the fight

"At the time of the police arrival, the group were not committing offences but their presence in such numbers would be alarming to members of the public as would the volume of police vehicles," she said.

Ms Creasy later said the source of the disorder had been confirmed as a row between two girls over a boy.

She said false rumours had also spread on social media - including comments that firearms were involved and police had issued warnings to schools about further disorder.

Ch Insp Jon Simpson at Waltham Forest confirmed officers were working with the council and local schools to find people behind any criminal acts.

He said: "The vast number of children who congregated in the area yesterday were merely there to watch and film on their phones rather than to participate in any criminal activities."

Image copyright Will Stroude
Image caption BBC London's Nick Beake says that on Wednesday there were not the visible numbers of police patrolling the streets promised by the Met

A spokesperson for Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow said it was "investigating and working closely with local police to find out if any of our students were involved".

The college said it had a "zero tolerance" approach to unacceptable behaviour inside or out of the college.

A spokesperson for Leyton Sixth Form College said it took such incidents "very seriously" and would "respond accordingly".

Image copyright Will Stroude
Image caption Police officers are speaking to schools to try to find people who were involved in the trouble

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