Police called in as rampaging gang of '100 youths' cause carnage at Portsmouth Hotwalls
RAMPAGING teenagers are causing ‘chaos and carnage’ in Portsmouth as police rush to disperse a 100-strong mob.
Officers are dealing with a large-scale ‘public order incident’ involving a gang of ‘up to 100 young people’.
The chaos erupted shortly after 4.30pm with horrified witnesses reporting seeing gangs brawling in the street.
It is not known what sparked the disturbance, however, a large number of police were spotted arriving at the scene and sealing off Penny Street and Lombard Street.
Officers were also seen blocking off access to the Hotwalls while a number of people were arrested, witnesses said.
Police are still on the scene trying to disperse dozens of stragglers.
One man, who asked not to be named, watched the drama unfold. He said: ‘It was just absolute carnage. We just walked out, about to go home, and there was just this huge crowd. It was total bedlam.
'It was all kicking off everywhere. There was at least two people who got arrested. There must have been 10 police cars.
'I've never seen anything like it. They had to close the Co-op early because of it all.’
Stephanie Donworth, High Street resident, said the area was like ‘the Wild West’.
'We have got a complete and utter nightmare in Old Portsmouth. The kids are lawless, they're a law unto themselves,’ she told The News.
'It's just unfair, as locals we can't really use the beach, we have to go elsewhere.'
Councillor Rob Wood, who represents St Thomas ward, witnessed the scene first hand.
He explained how police had put in place a section 35 dispersal order, allowing them to disperse the crowds, but 'a hundred more kept coming back.'
He said: 'There were hundreds of them. The problem is how do you control such a big number of children?
'It's a very hot day and there are lots of people and youngsters out. In this hot weather people totally forget about anything else. Our community wardens have been all over the place today.
'Earlier I saw kids climbing the pole at the end of Victoria Pier to do backflips. But I could see it was breaking. I told them to stop and they did. I don't know if other children went back though.’
In a statement to The News, Hampshire police were unable to confirm if any arrests had been made.
However, a spokeswoman said: ‘We are down there dealing with a public order incident at the moment.’
The incident comes after CCTV was installed at the Hotwalls last year in a bid to crack down on anti-social behaviour.
Two cameras, that can be monitored 24/7, were set up after large crowds of yobs caused problems in 2017 in the Camber Docks and Hotwalls.