Three people have been stabbed after bystanders tried to stop a phone robbery in central London.
Witnesses described seeing lots of blood and people lying on the floor after violence broke out near Liverpool Street station on Thursday morning.
A local office worker said he saw a group of masked knifemen on bicycles attempt to snatch a mobile phone from a middle-aged man.
The group, who he described as “teenagers”, were watching the smartly dressed man on the pavement before grabbing hold of him in a struggle that left him stabbed and lying on the ground.
Two pedestrians and a passing motorcyclist then got embroiled in the fight to try to help the man, but the knifeman continued his attack, injuring all of them.
The office worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Things escalated so quickly. Pedestrians got involved and they were trying to help the middle-aged man.
“I heard lots of screams and shouts. The next minute, a man on a white moped saw what happened and jumped off, and got himself involved.
“There was a fight with these teenagers. Out of nowhere, the guy on the moped got stabbed.
“The middle-aged man was already on the floor at this point after he got stabbed and another pedestrian got hurt too, his head was hurt. The teenagers then just took off.”
Three victims were taken for treatment at a nearby hospital and officers cordoned off the area.
Sayeed Dukanwala, who owns a shop right next to the scene, and also saw the incident unfold said: “I saw some guys running past my shop and shouting ‘Oi oi oi’. “After a few minutes I saw a fight break out… and people running away.
“Then some people came in and told me there was a stabbing. They said there was a man and a lady on the floor, and there was blood.”
He went on to describe the area as “very unsafe” saying that he was assaulted with a bottle inside his shop last weekend.
Afterwards, the scene was said to be littered with used medical kits in an area of Bishopsgate that had been taped off.
City of London Police officers and London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics attended the scene.
In a tweet, the City of London Police said it had received reports of three stabbings and a person pushed to the floor at around 9.45am on Thursday and that “officers arrived at the scene at 9.51am.”
The force said: “This… is not being treated as terror-related,” and that the incident was a suspected robbery.
London Ambulance Service said its crews treated four patients, adding that three were taken to hospital and one discharged.
Footage on social media showed several emergency services vehicles near to the 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper, London’s second tallest building.
Nickie Aiken, MP for the cities of London and Westminster, tweeted her concern about the incident and said she was in contact with City of London police for updates.
She added that her thoughts were with all those involved.