Huge brawl breaks out between police and youths on Oxford Street amid social media call for shoplifting rampage

9 August 2023, 15:23 | Updated: 9 August 2023, 20:22

Two detained as police descend on Oxford Street

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A brawl between police officers and young people broke out on Oxford Street after threats of a 'mass shoplifting' event were shared online.

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Footage shared online showed a fight breaking out between a large group of officers and youths in the central London shopping hub.

Officers are continuing to "provide a reassuring presence" and have issued 24 dispersal orders and arrested five people, Westminster Police confirmed.

Videos appeared on TikTok promoting plans for a "mass shoplifting" event at 3pm.

Footage taken by LBC shows two young men being detained on Oxford Street, with police slamming one person to the ground.

Four more officers worked to keep another young man restrained outside McDonald's on the street.

There was a heavy police presence in the area, including officers on horses, patrolling on Oxford Street.

Later, a third young man was detained by officers on Oxford Street and taken into a police van.

Boots and Sports Direct briefly shut but have since reopened.

Police presence in Oxford Street after TikTok call for rampage

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: "We continue to have a highly visible presence in the Oxford Street area.

"Our officers have issued 11 dispersal orders.

"We will deal robustly with anyone coming to the West End intent on committing crime."

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

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.

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

One TikTok suggested those involved were planning to 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 on Wednesday morning: "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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