DOZENS of college pupils were involved in violent clashes with police yesterday afternoon (November 3), forcing the closure of Orpington High Street.

The trouble flared at around 5.25pm when more than 40 Orpington College students waited for a bus outside Boots in the high street.

Around 15 of them boarded a route 51 before the driver shut his doors and a patrolling PCSO told the remaining teenagers they would have to wait for the next bus.

But instead the youths on the pavement tried to force their way onto the bus, kicking the front and back doors.

The violence quickly escalated and a 25-year-old PCSO sustained a cut above his left eye.

He was taken to the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough, by ambulance.

Two other police officers were also struck during the incident.

Police have confirmed no weapons were used or recovered during the incident.

The high street was shut for around an hour while officers fought running battles with the teenagers.

Boots store manager Alan Bean said: “It just happened outside and there was a lot of shouting going on, my main concern was making sure the staff were OK.

“There are sometimes problems with the students standing in the doorway when it’s raining so we just have to be polite and ask them to move.”

A witness, who did not want to be named, said: “It was very frightening.

“There are always about 50 people every night and now the dark nights are here it is a lot more intimidating for people."

The woman added: “It is not good for people and people do not want to shop here because of it.

“It just went mad last night, I’ve lived here since I was seven and I have never seen anything like it.”

Jim Connor works at the fruit and veg stall near to where the incident happened.

Mr Connor said: “They have no respect for people.

“They want respect but they never give it themselves.”

Local safer neighbourhood teams, safer transport teams and police officers from Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich were all drafted in to deal with the mob.

The Met’s dog unit and territorial support group were also called to the scene.

Seven teenagers, all Orpington College pupils, were arrested following the incident.

Principal of Orpington College, Simon Norton, said: “We are concerned about the incident as public safety is of the utmost importance to us.

“We are particularly disappointed that some of our students were involved, as their general standards of behaviour have improved significantly over the past year.

“The college now takes a very firm line on discipline, permanently excluding those who behave badly and working with the police to secure prosecutions wherever possible.

“We have almost one-and-a-half thousand 16 to 19-year-old students, the overwhelming majority of whom are decent, hardworking young people who are studying to improve their knowledge and skills.

“We are proud of these young people and utterly determined to punish and remove the small minority who undermine their good name.”

Pupils arrested include three 18-year-old women from Lewisham, Greenwich and Belvedere.

Two boys from Lewisham and Greenwich, aged 16 and 17, were also arrested, along with a 19-year-old man from Erith.

A 17-year-old girl from Dartford was also arrested during the disturbance.

The two teenagers from Lewisham have been bailed until December 7, while the rest remain in police custody.