Up to 15 young people are believed to have taken part in a bloody machete fight in Mitcham town centre which left a teenager in hospital with stab wounds.

Police have confirmed about 15 people aged between 16 and 20 were involved in the clash, which began outside Barclays Bank in Montrose Gardens.

Emergency services were called to reports of “a large fight involving youths with machetes” at 3.45pm on Monday (May 23).

May 24: Stabbing: Teenager hospitalised and two men arrested after 'large machete fight' in Mitcham town centre

A 16-year-old boy was taken to hospital with two stab wounds to his leg. He is described as being in a stable condition, and his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.

Two 18-year-old men were arrested in London Road a short time later, following a brief search. They have been released on bail until July 20.

Secretary of the Mitcham Society, Sandra Vogel, expressed concern about the frequency of violence in the town centre, but was positive about the police response.

Ms Vogel said: “Any area is going to have its issues, and there does seem to have been a spate of fights and other things going on in the town centre recently.

“It seems as if when things happen the police do deal with them very quickly.

"We hope that this sort of thing doesn’t have a negative impact on the town centre, which is going through a whole load of changes at the moment to try and bring more people to visit it.

“It may be there just isn’t enough for young people to do in Mitcham at the moment.”

Police put in place a 24-hour ‘exclusion zone’ around Mitcham town centre following the fight.

However, the exclusion zone was then extended to the maximum allowed period of 48 hours, expiring at 4.30pm this afternoon.

Wimbledon Times:

The zone allows the police to order anyone engaged in, or suspected of being engaged in, anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder to leave the specified area.

Acting borough commander Chief Superintendent Steve Wallace said extra patrols had been put in place around Mitcham town centre, and assured the public that police are working hard to tackle knife crime.

He said: “We are building up a version of events, but are really keen to hear from anyone who saw what happened or has heard what happened so we can make sure of a thorough investigation which ends in charges.

“Knife crime is still relatively rare, but it’s an issue for London and an issue for Merton.

“People do seem to be using weapons with slightly more frequency. They need to know that the sentences are severe for carrying and using weapons.”

Dave Drewett, who works at Mitcham market, said he heard the fight had moved from outside the bank to KFC, and then on to nearby Raleigh Gardens.

Mr Drewett said his nephew was in the area shortly after the fight and saw “blood everywhere”, as well as police and paramedics and a man lying on the floor.

Mr Drewett added: "Unfortunately it is a regular occurrence in Mitcham now we are short of PCSOs.

“There are so many gangs hanging out outside the betting shops. It escalates.

"Unfortunately the area is deteriorating again."

Police are urgently appealing for witnesses to the attack as they try to establish a motive.

Information can be reported by calling 101, and quoting the reference 5913/23MAY16. To report information anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.