Police are searching for a half-masked “axeman” who rampaged through a Tesco in south London, chasing terrified customers as they fled the store.
Security footage of the incident, shared more than six thousand times on social media, shows around 10 people running away down a corridor before the suspect bursts through a pair of doors, swinging the “axe”.
After briefly slowing down, the man is seen running after shoppers again, with the footage ending as he raises the weapon above his head and goes offscreen, at which point he is thought to have fled the supermarket.
The seven-second clip, which appears to have been taken from a CCTV recording, was uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday night by Samantha Suki Lowe, who posted it with the caption: “Wtf is going on in this world. Tescos Purley tonight”, followed by a ‘facepalm’ emoji.
While the suspect was originally said to have been wielding an axe, police referred to the weapon as a hammer in a statement, adding that so far there have been no arrests.
A police spokesman said: “Police were called on Tuesday, January 22 at 10:14 p.m. to a supermarket in Purley Way to reports of a man in possession of a hammer.
“Officers attended and were informed the man had caused damage to the store. The suspect left prior to police arrival.
“A search of the area took place but he was not found. Enquiries are ongoing to trace him.”
A spokesman for Tesco added: “We are relieved to confirm that nobody was hurt in this shocking incident at our Purley Extra store. We are supporting the police with their enquiries.”
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However, one of the capital’s top police officers used an interview with the BBC earlier this week to instead highlight the supposed threat posed to the public by Brexit, asserting that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU had “the potential to divide communities and set communities against each other” and even lead to a rise in “far-right extremist ideology”.
Asserting that police saw a rise in “hate crime” and “far-right rhetoric” following the 2016 vote to Leave the European Union, London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner and counter-terror police chief Neil Basu said: “What I want to make absolutely clear is that we are concentrating very heavily on making sure that [‘far-right’ ideology] doesn’t get a foothold in this country.”
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