Teenage mob clashes with police in Hampstead after officers shut down out-of-control house party
PUBLISHED: 08:01 13 June 2013 | UPDATED: 16:47 13 June 2013
A 50-strong mob of teenagers clashed with police after a house party besieged by gatecrashers spiralled out of control – sparking fears of a repeat of London Riots-style violence in Hampstead.
Witnesses described scores of “well-dressed” youths aggressively confronting officers in the street in Arkwright Road into the early hours of last Thursday (June 6).
One said the shocking scenes recalled the London Riots and looked ready to “kick off” into serious violence – while his neighbour said the teenagers seemed to think it was “some kind of Arab Spring”.
Trouble flared when police arrived to shut down a party near the junction of Frognal and Arkwright Road at 1am, which was swelled by gatecrashers to about 120 teenagers.
Chris Fallows, 49, a writer who lives in Frognal, said: “There were about 40 or 50 kids, all well-dressed, and they were yelling right in the cops’ faces.
“They were inches away from them, shouting, cursing and refusing to move, and this went on until about 2am.
“A lot of the kids had their cell phones out and were thrusting them in the faces of the policemen, almost daring them to do something. It was as though they thought they were taking part in some kind of Arab Spring.”
Witnesses said there were about seven police cars and vans and some 15 officers at the scene.
Officers were seen marching the youths down Arkwright Road towards Finchley Road. The face-off ended with three people being hauled off in police vans.
Geraldine Marsh, 67, of Arkwright Road, said: “They were all out rioting up and down the street, although it was not political.
“I could not tell if they were drugged, drunk or what it was, but they were quite well-off middle class children.”
Another Arkwright Road resident, a 39-year-old who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It felt like the London riots were starting again outside my house. I thought, ‘this is about to go off’.
“It looked like it could kick off at any minute between them and the police, like proper off – violent.
“Two or three were singled out and flung to the ground and then flung into a van. Nothing like this ever happens in this neighbourhood.”
Police were called at about 12.55am to a party with approximately 120 people inside.
Officers cleared the party and later arrested two 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old.
A 17-year-old was charged with a public order offence and will attend Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on June 26.
The two others were bailed to return to police on July 12.
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