A police officer attacked by a mob after asking a teen to pick up some litter she had dropped has said he feared for his life.

The man was one of two officers attacked near to the Woolworths and Burger King in North End, central Croydon, at about 3pm on Wednesday.

It started when the unarmed male officers on patrol saw a teenage girl drop a fast food wrapper from a nearby takeaway and asked her to pick it up. She did so but immediately dropped it on the ground again.

They then separated the girl from a 15-year-old girl with her who was being noisy and uncooperative.

The officer, who has not been identified, told BBC London 94.9 it was after that point she jumped on him and started biting.

He said: "Then my colleague got pulled to the ground by a group of young males, so we had to call for urgent assistance because you are fearing for your life."

Both he and his colleague are now on sick leave. The pair, aged 34 and 29, suffered bruising and knee injuries.

The officer added: "It amazes you, it actually depresses you, the state of children today.

"The disrespect, not only for people who might be in the police but anyone older."

It is believed the crowd grew to about 30 people, made up of male and female teenagers and adults, with more people watching.

Police said all suspects were black.

The 15-year-old girl was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault. She has been bailed following further inquiries.

Yesterday morning police also arrested two men, aged 34 and 38 both from South Norwood, on suspicion of assault and violent disorder.

The incident is being investigated by Croydon CID and officers are examining CCTV footage from the area.

Inspector Simon Ellingham said: "We have heard from several retailers in the area who were horrified at the level of violence used by the crowd against the officers.

"Whilst we would never use the word 'mob' which is an inflammatory word, we can confirm that eye witnesses have described their initial fear that officers were going to be seriously injured or killed."

Anyone who saw what happened or has any information should phone 020 8649 0119 and ask for Sergeant George Shannon or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.