Customers fled in terror from a popular Milton Keynes shopping centre when a man appeared in Pret a Manger entrance brandishing a knife.
Witnesses heard shouting and saw a commotion in the entrance of the popular eating place at the intu shopping centre in MK.
“I was in the soft play area with my 11-month-old daughter when I looked up and saw this man pull out a knife and wave it around frantically,” said one man.
“I instinctively grabbed my daughter and shouted: “He’s got a knife. Get out!” Then I ran out of the place without even bothering to put my shoes back on,” he added.
The drama erupted in the middle of yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, when the intu was full of shoppers and parents with small children.
Witnesses saw a man surrounded by a gang of up to 10 other men of all ages.
“Some were young but one or two were middle aged. They were clearly arguing about something as everyone could hear them shouting,” said one.
“People were sitting just a couple of feet away on the terrace of Pret a Manger drinking their coffee, and the shop was also packed inside,” he added.
“I’ve never seen people move so quickly as they did when the man suddenly produced a knife.”
Shoppers have praised the centre’s security staff for arriving at the scene within seconds.
Police were called and a man was arrested.
A police spokesman said: “ Officers were called to reports of a man brandishing a knife in the Pret A Manger in The Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, at around 3.45pm on Wednesday . A 36-year-old man of no fixed abode was arrested on suspicion of possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place, affray, criminal damage and robbery.
“He has been released on police bail, and detained under the mental health act pending a mental health assessment.”