Witnesses have described the terrifying moment a maniac started wielding a machete during a mass brawl in Thornton Heath.

Police and London Ambulance were called to High Street shortly before 5pm on Saturday June 2, to reports of a disturbance.

Horrified shoppers watched as a fight broke out between two groups of men outside J & J Halal Butcher and Grocer.

One witness, who did not want to be named, said moments before the fight he had seen one of the butcher’s staff stop a black man as he left the shop.

He said: “I don’t know why but he stopped him, then they started arguing so everyone came out [of the shop] to stop the argument.

“The man ran to his van, I thought he might get a stick or something but he came back with a machete. The blade was about one and half foot long.

“One man was cut on the back of his head; another had a cut on his neck, head and arm. The shop owner had his left hand injured and his brother had cuts to both hands.

“Another man had been cut around the chest, near his shoulder and arm.”

Five men were taken to hospital suffering stab wounds, where two remain in a serious condition and two are recovering from less serious injuries. The fifth man has been discharged from hospital and arrested.

Four other men were arrested in the vicinity of the high street after the fight and remain in police custody.

Duanette Gray was travelling on the number 50 bus, when she saw what she described as a “mini-riot.”

She said: “It was hard to tell who was hitting who at the time, but the butchers had at least one man down on the ground and were attacking him.

“He disappeared amid the chaos and then they went for this big transit van. The van was trashed the mirrors gone, window smashed in.

“The butchers began to attack a bus coming from the opposite direction which really frightened us; it seemed they were only hitting it as it was in the way of the van.

“The butchers seemed to be looking for someone around the corner near the van, and then out of nowhere the man came running at them with what looked like a machete. “Everyone on the bus was standing up trying to look out the window, screaming and crying. It was terrifying.”

Officers from Croydon CID Violent Crime Unit are investigating the incident.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information or mobile phone footage that may assist police should call Croydon CID on 0203 276 2172 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Calvin Fairweather, 47, of Thornton Heath, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates on Monday charged with grievous bodily harm on two men.