This is the terrifying moment when rival gangs launched a pitched battle in Croydon town centre in broad daylight.

Dozens of shoppers ran for cover as the thugs fought it out in the second gang incident in just one week.

More than 30 youths were involved as the gang warfare erupted at 4.15pm, in North End, on February 19.

One youth was brandishing what is believed to be a knife, and another was punched and kicked by a gang.

The thugs grabbed whatever they could to use as weapons, including cafe chairs and even a music stand stolen from a busker’s pitch.

Caught on CCTV cameras, the rival gang members hurled themselves into the melee, slashing, kicking and hitting out at each other in the busy shopping street, in front of horrified women and children.

The shocking images of two rival gangs battling it out in the town centre were captured on CCTV.

The video from Croydon Council’s CCTV cameras, leaked to the Croydon Guardian, lasts no more than three minutes but involves up to 30 youths, squaring off and fighting “like animals”.

The young hoodlums who fought are believed to belong to the Don’t Say Nothing gang and the Shine My Nine gang.

A council source said: “They were going hell for leather. The control room saw something was up and followed them down to North End where the two gangs just went for each other.

“Shoppers were ducking out the way as this lot fought each other with knives, belts, chairs and whatever else they could find – they were like animals. It was total mayhem, I am surprised no one got seriously hurt.”

Superintendent Dave Stringer, said: “Following the recent incidents in the town centre, I want to reassure the public that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Incidents of this nature are relatively rare and I am confident the measures we have in place with our as part of our Safe for All scheme will continue to deter such behaviour and ensure Croydon town centre remains a safe place to work, shop and visit.”

This incident was the second outbreak of youth violence in the town centre in three days, after brawling teenagers brandishing metal poles attacked each other near West Croydon station on February 17.

Police arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of carrying a weapon following the fight, which kicked off at about 7.20pm at the junction of London Road and Station Road.

A 16-year-old boy was taken to hospital with a hand injury.

Anyone with any information relating to the fight or who knows any of the individuals can call Croydon Police on 0300 123 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.