Police raid Brick Lane after violent midnight brawl
PUBLISHED: 10:15 29 July 2011 | UPDATED: 10:28 29 July 2011
Police raided restaurants in the East End’s buzzing curry district Brick Lane to swoop on staff members suspected of being involved in a violent brawl there last week.
Unsuspecting customers were escorted out of six restaurants during the peak trade on Wednesday night as officers scoured the kitchens for suspects.
The raid was in response to a vicious street fight which started just before midnight the previous Wednesday.
More than 30 people, including chefs and waiters, were involved in a huge scuffle which left one man with a broken jaw and another with head injuries.
Violent scenes caught on CCTV showed suspects running out of restaurants armed with brooms and rolling pins in scenes which went on for 10 minutes.
Officers from Tower Hamlets Police and a backup team from the North East Vault Unit arrived in riot vans on Wednesday before cordoning off a bustling area of the street at around 7pm.
It was part of Operation Target – a Metropolitan Police crackdown on all forms of violent crime including burglaries, robberies and the drugs trade.
Police arrested four men, aged 25, 26, 38 and 39- three in connection with violent disorder and one for grievous bodily harm.
Det Insp Craig Robinson said: “People go to Brick Lane to socialise and it is famous - and rightly so - for its great curry restaurants. People go there to have a good night out and they shouldn’t have to witness or be involved in that level of violence.
“We decided to go at peak time because the staff are more likely to be there.”
Four other men were also arrested last week.
Customers escorted out as the raid got underway included a group of 20 American exchange students and their lecturer who had just arrived in London that day.
Chris Wilson, one of the students, said: “We had just finished our meals and all these police officers ran in. It was a bit of the surprise but its good the police have a presence. The meal was really good though.”