Dozens of young men have run riot through a community festival in Melbourne’s west, stealing phones and knocking over parents and children.
The rampaging teenagers, of African appearance, left families in fear and furious.
As families settled in to enjoy the fireworks, what was a pleasant evening descended into chaos.
Witnesses say up to 70 teenagers ran through the crowd at the Caroline Springs Summersault Festival, stealing people’s phones as they held them up to film the event.
“It was hectic, out of nowhere,” witness Joe Cuic said.
“Everyone’s been standing there having a lovely time, to running in all directions and initially no one knew what was going on.”
Abi-Shake Verma was dragged into a brawl when he ran after two teenagers who stole his wife’s phone.
“I grabbed them behind the stage but as soon as I grabbed two of them, all of a sudden 30, 40 of them came and started punching, kicking all over the face,” he said.
Sixteen-year-old Jack McLaughlin spent Saturday night in hospital.
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He has little memory of what happened but his mother Debbie believes he was king hit.
“Our understanding is that he was knocked out,” she said.
“He didn’t know where he was, didn’t know what day it was.
“The police were there, they called an ambulance and the ambos said we should definitely take him to the hospital and check him out.”
Jack said he just wanted his phone back.
Police say they have received six reports of stolen phones so far and two reports of assaults.
Witnesses fear many more people were attacked.
Volunteer firefighter Joe Cuic was at the festival assisting with traffic control.
As the brigade left they saw teenagers hurling rocks at a block of apartment buildings just across the road from the Caroline Springs Police Station.
The festival is run by the Melton City Council and features live music, rides, food trucks and entertainment.
Residents are now demanding tighter security measures before next year’s event goes ahead.