A Polish busker had his 100-year-old violin, a family heirloom, damaged by the violent thugs during a gang fight in Croydon.

Jerzy Siwek, 58, from Morden, was playing in the town centre with his friend Gabby Slonecka, 53, when the group fell upon them, using the musicians’ equipment to attack each other.

The thugs badly damaged Mr Siwek’s precious violin, which had been passed down to him by his father.

He said: “I think it is a 100-year-old Stradivarius replica. I won’t know until it has been valued.”

Mrs Slonecka said: “We play our music once a week in Croydon. We had just finished when these people started to shout at each other.

“It got more aggressive and more violent.”

Mr Siwek added: “There were a lot of people there.

“They took everything, all my equipment, including the music stand. One of them took my violin and threw it.

“The violence was terrible – disgusting.”

Mrs Slonecka said: “We were in shock, we did not know how to react. We thought ‘Do we look after ourselves or our stuff?’ “So many people have offered us their support that we will go back this weekend again to play. I hope we will be OK.”