AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after shoppers at a designer outlet complained about ‘shocking violence’ used by security staff.
Concerns were raised after a man was seen being tackled by guards at Cheshire Oaks on Sunday afternoon in a car park.
One outraged shopper, who photographed the incident, claims she and her eight-year-old daughter witnessed the man being punched and stamped on.
Bosses at the popular outlet confirmed they were aware of a ‘security incident’ and had since launched an internal investigation and were liasing with police over the matter.
She told the Leader her eight-year-old daughter had been “shaking like a leaf” and suffered nightmares after witnessing the drama around 2.30pm.
The woman, who wished only to be known as Carol, said she had made a formal complaint to the management of Cheshire Oaks but had not yet received a response.
McArthurGlen, which runs the retail park, told this paper it was aware of a “security incident” relating to the “detainment” of a suspected thief and had launched an internal investigation.
A spokesman said: “The safety of shoppers and centre personnel remains our priority, and all security guards on site are trained in line with the Workplace Health and Welfare Regulations.
“We are currently liaising with the local police authority on the matter and have launched an internal investigation to clarify the details of the incident.
“We send our sincerest apologies to shoppers who have been affected.”
She said it was not company policy to reveal whether the security team was employed directly or by outside contractors.
Carol said she had parked her car and was walking towards the shopping centre close to the children's playground when she heard a commotion.
She said: “I saw a man being forced to the ground by two men in white shirts. The guy wearing the high vis jacket then bent down and started to punch the man in the face.
“He then started stamping on his face. I had my daughter with me and was trying to move her away from seeing this.
“She shouldn’t have to see something like that. It’s not Chester on a Saturday night, it’s Cheshire Oaks in the middle of the afternoon. No matter what he’d done, he didn't deserve that.”
Dozens of people witnessed the incident, she said, including a car of four shocked teenagers driving past and numerous children.
“I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My daughter was shaking like a leaf. She was saying ‘Mummy, I’m scared. Why are they hitting him?’ She was terrified.
“I'd like to know what will be done about this because, as it stands, we won’t be returning to Cheshire Oaks again. My daughter woke last night having nightmares about it and I’m sure others who saw will be affected too.”
No one at Cheshire Police was available for comment as the Leader went to press.
See full story in the Chester Leader