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Shopping centre incident boy, 16, admits possessing machete

Published 28/12/2015

Police at the Intu shopping centre after the incident (Twitter feed of @keefmoon/PA)
Police at the Intu shopping centre after the incident (Twitter feed of @keefmoon/PA)

A teenage boy accused of involvement in a Boxing Day row that sent shoppers running for their lives has admitted possessing a machete and been given bail.

The 16-year-old was arrested at the Intu shopping centre, formerly The Glades, in Bromley, south-east London after the fight sparked rumours a gunman was on the loose.

Armed police attended the scene at about 3.45pm on Saturday and found the boy with a head injury. Two knives were also discovered in the area.

Police said that another boy also faces allegations in connection with the incident.

A 16-year-old was charged on Monday with violent disorder, possession of an offensive weapon and common assault by beating. He will appear in custody at Bromley Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

The first teenager, who like the second cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared at Bromley Youth Court on Monday and admitted possessing an offensive weapon, namely a machete, at Intu on Saturday.

He also faces accusations of common assault and violent disorder but these have not yet been put to him.

District Judge Dennis Lynch said he felt able to grant bail with stringent conditions.

These were that he stays at a specific address and is indoors there from 7pm to 7am, and only leaves the address in the immediate presence of his grandmother, mother, father, aunt, or a youth offending team official.

He was also ordered to keep out of Bromley town centre, except to return to the court on January 5, and his family had to deposit a cash security of £500.

Boxing Day shoppers told how they ran "for their lives" after a group of youths began to argue in a shoe shop.

A video posted on Twitter showed people, including families, screaming and running out of the centre.

Keith Moon, 35, an app developer, was out shopping with his wife when he suddenly saw people running in a "chaotic" scene.

He later saw a male youth in handcuffs and bleeding from the head being led away by police, who were carrying a 2ft (61cm) machete.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said earlier: "Detectives are seeking to trace a number of youths who ran off from the scene shortly after the incident."

Eyewitnesses on Twitter described scenes of "panic".

Nelson Adeosun, 27, who works in television, said: "It was really busy because of the Boxing Day sales and there was a mass exodus of people on the ground floor. They were shouting and running."

Mr Adeosun, who was out shopping with his brother, said he feared for his life as he ran out of the building.

He said: "People were running, some with children, and they were dropping stuff. It was a stampede."

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