Ilford town centre arrests spark protest

Police swooped on suspected robbers in Ilford this afternoon in a dramatic town centre confrontation.

Two men were arrested by undercover officers outside the Cranbrook Road entrance to Exchange Ilford shopping centre at 1.30pm this afternoon. They called for back-up after it seemed that passer-bys were getting involved in “pushing and shoving.”

More than 20 uniformed officers were called in to keep order as some in the unruly crowd protested against the arrests.

The action was part of Operation Dandelion, tackling an increase in thieves and robbers targeting shoppers around Exchange Ilford.

A police spokesman said: “The operation is in parts high-visibility and in parts covert and has been running for the last week.”

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She went on to say that detectives were still “actively looking” for two more suspects following the arrests.

One woman, who saw the scuffle, said: “An argument seemed to break out and they started pushing each other. One of them was tackled to the ground by the officers. The guy they arrested said ‘don’t touch me, don’t push me.’”

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A man, who did not want to be named, said his 22-year-old brother, from Ilford, had been arrested by police while he was on his way to buy some lunch. He said: “My brother was trying to find out what was going on. He was trying to tell the boys there to calm down when he got manhandled.”

The two arrested men remain in custody at Ilford police station.

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