Oxford Street stores brace for TikTok rampage amid threat of 'mass shoplifting' on central London shopping hub

9 August 2023, 14:37 | Updated: 9 August 2023, 15:13

The Met said there will be more police in central London
The Met said there will be more police in central London. Picture: Getty/MPS
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Stores on Oxford Street are bracing for a wave of crime and chaos after adverts posted on TikTok suggested an organised riot will take place.

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appealed to people not to head to Oxford Street to participate in the "nonsense" circulating on social media.

The Metropolitan Police have stated that there will be an increased police presence in the central London area due to speculations about an event advertised to occur on Wednesday afternoon.

Videos have gone viral on TikTok with plans for a "mass shoplifting" event later today.

A dispersal order has been implemented from 11am on Tuesday until 10am on Thursday, granting police officers the authority to remove individuals from the area for a span of 48 hours.

It covers a large part of central London, including Oxford Circus, Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and Waterloo Bridge.

Failure to comply could lead to arrests.

Police presence in Oxford Street after TikTok call for rampage

One TikTok has suggested those involved may target JD Sports, which is located on Oxford Street.

Other stores on Britain's most famous shopping street include Primark, Urban Outfitters, Marks and Spencer, Mango, H&M, Disney, and River Island.

It joins onto Regent Street, which also hosts a number of famous stores, including Hamleys, Liberty, and Burberry.

Read more: Sadiq Khan urges Londoners to avoid Oxford Street today amid social media 'nonsense' over 'crime opportunities'

Read more: Northern Ireland police expose details of all officers in ‘monumental’ data breach blaming 'human error'

Mr Khan said: "I am concerned about this absurdity that we've witnessed on TikTok, which is enticing people to visit Oxford Street."

"The police understand the reasons why some individuals might be enticed to visit that part of London due to TikTok."

"I would advise anyone who has come across it to refrain from going to Oxford Street. Do not let yourself be drawn into an area that could be a high-crime zone."

"It won't become one (a high-crime area) because the police work diligently alongside the local community and retailers in that vicinity of London, as well as with those citizens who intend to enjoy their day on Oxford Street tomorrow, rather than being preoccupied with such frivolous matters."

The Met Police shared on Twitter: "We are aware of online speculation regarding potential criminal activities around Oxford Street."

"There will be a substantial presence of our officers in the vicinity during the next 24 hours. Individuals engaging in criminal activities should expect robust action."

The Mayor has urged people to avoid Oxford Street today
The Mayor has urged people to avoid Oxford Street today. Picture: Alamy

A Met Police spokesperson said: "We are collaborating closely with our partners, including the New West End company, to ensure prompt handling of any criminal conduct."

"If you witness or become aware of anything suspicious related to this activity, please contact us on 999 in case of an emergency or 101 for non-emergencies."

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