POLICE are investigating an Aldi customer’s claim he was “assaulted and restrained” by staff after leaving a packet of cereal at a checkout.
Neil Burrows decided not to wait in a checkout queue and placed the handbasket containing the product on an empty conveyor belt before walking out.
The 40-year-old alleges a member of staff physically grabbed him by the collar outside the store while another stood in front to block him.
He says the workers at the store in Acocks Green, Birmingham, accused him of shoplifting before inspecting the rucksack he was carrying. Only on finding it empty was he allowed to go.
The self-employed carpenter and joiner has reported the incident on Tuesday to police as an assault. West Midlands Police today (Fri) confirmed they had made an appointment to interview Neil.
Neil shared his complaint letter to Aldi’s CEO on Facebook, writing: “It’s 48 hours since I emailed the customer service team and the UK CEO about being assaulted by their staff and falsely accused of shoplifting.
“I’ve still had no response from Aldi UK. Let’s see if sharing on social gets any response because they are doing a good job of ignoring it so far.”
In his letter to Giles Hurley, Aldi’s UK chief, he wrote: “I put a box of cereal in a basket, but there was only one checkout open and the queue was moving slowly. I had to be at a work appointment so I left the basket on an empty till and the store without buying anything.
“As I left the store and entered the car park I was aggressively physically restrained and assaulted by an employee who accused me of shoplifting. He refused to let go of me even after I offered to allow him to inspect my bag.
“He was also joined by other employees. They were verbally aggressive and this all took place in the car park in full view of other shoppers.
“When my bags were searched there was nothing to find and yet there was no apology from any of the store staff.”
Andrea Appleyard responded online: “ Aldi, seriously you should be ashamed to have policies which allow your staff to behave in such a truly disgusting manner.”
Mitchell Park added: “Disgraceful conduct on their part. Big apologies are in order I think.”
Guy Mason said: “This is disgraceful behaviour mate, I hope you get something back from Aldi asap. I sincerely hope the security in question get reprimanded for this.”
Speaking today Neil said: “I was scared while I thought I was being mugged until I noticed the store logo on his jacket.
“I was shocked and disgusted at being treated like that and that the shop staff think they have the legal powers of police officers.
“He grabbed me from behind on the collar and shoulder of my coat, and told me to give him my rucksack.
“He threatened me and said I had 5 seconds to give him the bag. I asked several times for him to let me go, he just repeated the ‘you’ve got 5 seconds’ line.
“He was then joined by a large male colleague. Who stood in front of me. I offered to show him the contents of the bag if he released me.”
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: “Police received a report of an alleged assault in Acocks Green which is believed to have taken place just before 10am on Tuesday (16 April).
“An appointment has been made to visit the man today to establish the exact circumstances around the incident.”
An Aldi spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear of Mr Burrows’ experience and are investigating the matter.”