A machete-wielding thug and his six accomplices are being hunted by police after they were seen attempting to steal a moped in Addiscombe, witnesses have said.

Officers were called to reports of an attempted robbery in Spring Lane, at the junction with Addiscombe Road, at about 8.35pm on Thursday, February 16.

Elizabeth Hinton, 24, who lives nearby, said she heard a young boy "screaming for his life” as a group of men tried to steal his moped.

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She added: “They followed the boy inside our security gates and tried to grab his ped, then got it out on to the main road [and] pushed it over.

“Me and another lady ran out to try and save him from being hurt, telling them to stop, trying to calm it down - then it all went crazy.

“[The] boys then pulled a huge machete [out] on the lad.

"I was so scared I moved back a bit, but the other lady was standing strong. I then got the boy out of the way, got him inside and we saved his ped."

“The police came about 20 minutes after. Me and this other lady was tracking the gang down and we found them at Arena tram stop just sitting there, chilling like nothing happen.”

The victim was not injured, a Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed.

He added: “The suspects, who were wearing black clothing, are believed to have fled towards the Arena tram stop.

“One made threats and is believed to have been armed with a knife.

“There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”

Did you see what happened? Email sean.morrison@london.newsquest.co.uk