An eyewitness to the mass brawl in Braintree town centre has described the scene as “absolute carnage”.

Essex Police is continuing to investigate Saturday's fight in Market Place, which is understood to have been between a group of roughly 12 men and a smaller group of youths.

A 19-year-old man was taken to hospital in the aftermath of the brawl after he was stabbed in the hand and suffered “life-changing injuries”.

Video footage from the fight showed A-boards were thrown and used as weapons, while knives were also understood to have been pulled out by some of the suspects.

One eyewitness, who also owns a business in the town centre, said the fight lasted between five and ten minutes and ended when some of the youngsters fled the scene in a car.

He said: “It was absolute carnage and just completely senseless.

“I was in a flat nearby when it all began. I heard the commotion, came down and saw the fight had already started.

“The A boards were getting thrown around.

“It hit one man on the head and then he seemed to pull out a knife.

“There was a lot of screaming when that happened and everyone was shouting ‘put the knife away’.

“After the guy was stabbed, I saw him get up and run around the corner.

“His tracksuit was half grey and half red because he was saturated in blood.”

He added: “It’s absolutely frightening to think it’s happened in the town centre.

“Of course these things happen, but you really don’t expect to see that at 5pm on a Saturday when there are people shopping with their kids.

“It does make you think twice about going out there now.”

Four men, aged 19, 22, 50 and 51 were all arrested on suspicion of affray once officers arrived on the scene.

The suspects have since been released on bail and remain under investigation.

Anyone with information about the fight is asked to contact police on 101.