Violence erupted in Burgess Park and Old Kent Road on Tuesday night, leaving two boys stabbed and two women injured after over 1,000 youths congregated for the break-up of school.
Between 500 and 600 gathered for an end-of-school water fight advertised on social media.
Eyewitnesses said that at 6.30pm at least 200 were making their way on both sides of Albany Road, moving towards Walworth Road.
By 8pm police were scrambled to calls of hundreds more ransacking the Tesco superstore in Old Kent Road. Police say teens were “causing damage and stealing items”. Two women suffered minor injuries in the store but refused medical attention.
By 9pm over 100 teenagers were seen sprinting in a panicked “stampede” back up Albany Road, away from Walworth Road, after it appeared three youngsters had been knifed.
Police have confirmed that two boys were stabbed. Local sources have told the News that one was knifed in the back and the other boy in the leg. Neither are believed to have life-threatening injuries and both were taken to King’s College Hospital.
One Albany Road resident told the News: “There were loads of kids up and down Burgess Park because school was broken up. It’s always like this when school finishes at Burgess Park – the police should have known something would happen.”
The crowds in Albany Road and Burgess Park had been dispersed by police by 10pm.
Officers and a police cordon remained at the park, this morning, and at Tesco, as investigations continued. No arrests have been made.
Detective chief superintendent Simon Messinger, borough commander for Southwark, said: “While at this stage we do not believe the events at Burgess Park to be linked to disorder elsewhere in London last night, clearly there are similarities with incidents quickly breaking out amongst a large group of youths.
“Two boys were stabbed, fortunately neither suffering serious injuries, and a supermarket was also ransacked which was terrifying for staff and customers alike.
“These are serious incidents and unacceptable. We are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.”
Anyone with information that can help the police with their ongoing enquiries is urged to call 101.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “Our colleagues at Tesco Southwark have been doing a great job to make sure the store is tidy and we have a full range of products available for our customers.
“The store is open as usual and we are helping the police with their enquiries.”