Balham High Street has been hit by looting and violence tonight, with pubs and phone shops suffering damage.

The T-Mobile store was broken into by a gang of looters in the last 90 minutes, an eyewitness who lives opposite the shop said. A nearby pub was also rushed by a group of teenagers earlier in the evening.

The witness said some of the group of about 20 males later escaped in a car, leaving the shop's door smashed open and broken glass on the pavement. Groups of youths were seen running in nearby Ramsden Road in the last half hour, after police arrived at the scene.

The Carphone Warehouse next door was also damaged tonight, as was Blockbuster on the same street.

The owner of Blithe Spirit, a bar close to the phone shops on the high street, said he had fought off a group of teenagers who tried to rush the premises at about 9pm tonight.

The pub owner, who had suffered a black eye in the incident, said a drinker had swung a stool at the group of four when they charged into the bar.

Sainsburys, also on the high street, barricaded its main entrance with shopping trolleys after shutting to deter potential attackers.

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