'Horrendous' brawl in shopping centre

TERRIFIED onlookers today described “horrifying” scenes after rival gangs sparked a brawl in a shopping centre.

TERRIFIED onlookers today described “horrifying” scenes after rival gangs sparked a brawl in a shopping centre.

Police were called to the top floor of Tower Ramparts to deal with the incident, which shoppers said involved up to 20 teenagers outside Martins newsagents.

Witnesses claim one of the youths tried to stab another with a screwdriver, but was foiled by a security guard who battled to break up the fracas. Bottles were allegedly thrown during the fight at 2pm yesterday.

The two groups are believed to be from different ethnic backgrounds.

The fight is thought to have been provoked when a member of one gang said “something untoward” to a youth in the other group while walking out of the centre near the bus stop.

One onlooker said: “It was a horrifying scene and some people looked really scared. Some elderly people were stuck in the doors trying to get out.

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“Shoppers were being shown into some of the shops in the complex to try and get out of the way of the fight.”

Another witness said: “One of the guys pulled out a screwdriver and tried stabbing the other guy. The security guard grabbed him.

“It was free-for-all. It was horrendous. You don't expect that to happen at a shopping centre.”

Mike Sorhaindo, centre manager at Tower Ramparts, claimed the fight only involved six youths, some of whom are already known to his security team.

He said: “One person said something untoward to another. They were from different ethnic backgrounds, so that was a potential area for conflict.

“We don't tolerate that kind of behaviour in or around our premises. Those individuals will be banned from the centre because we don't welcome their custom.”

Mr Sorhaindo said the centre is now working with police to identify the two youths who started the fight from CCTV images.

He said he was not aware of any damage to the shopping centre nor any injuries to the people involved.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said no arrests had been made because no-one had made any allegations.