Protesting shopper left ‘sore’ by police

This Is Wiltshire: WOUNDS Eric Rawlinson outside Tesco in Ocotal Way WOUNDS Eric Rawlinson outside Tesco in Ocotal Way

A SHOPPER ejected from a Tesco store yeterday by police after a sit-down protest over a faulty TV said he was feeling sore from baton strikes sustained in the struggle.

Eric Rawlinson, 41, went back to the supermarket to request CCTV of the incident, in which he said he was forced to the floor by two officers who used incapacitating pava spray.

He said he staged the sit-in after the 24-hour Extra store in Octocal Way refused to exchange the widescreen set on Tuesday, saying under their policy he would have to wait for a repair.

A stand-off of four hours ended with police being called. Two officers attended the scene, then reinforcements arrived to take him away.

Mr Rawlinson was arrested for breach of the peace but no further action was taken and he was released from custody at 10pm. He was cautioned for resisting arrest.

After being examined at Great Western Hospital yesterday, he said: “I feel very sore. I have severe bruising and welts where I was battered with a baton on my right upper arm and my right hand is a bit swollen, but I have no broken bones.”

Mr Rawlinson said: “When the young male officer took off my glasses, I thought he was being considerate before taking me to the floor.

“Without warning, there was a ‘woosh’ and the spray went into my eyes. They are swollen and bloodshot but I was told at A&E there is not much that can be done about it.”

Mr Rawlinson, from Abbey Meads, has requested CCTV from the supermarket and says he will seek legal advice about the force used in his arrest if he is successful in obtaining the footage.

He said: “I have a legal right to an exchange and I am still determined to have the TV replaced. I am going to go down the legal route and pursue this with Tesco’s head office.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “Despite officers’ best efforts to resolve the situation, the male refused to leave the store so was arrested for breach of the peace, but resisted officers when they tried to arrest him.

“In trying to restrain the male, officers were required to use pava spray and an ASP.

“The first officers arrived at the scene approximately 10 minutes after the call.

“But when the man became aggressive officers called for emergency assistance and a further four units were called as precaution. The man was seen by the police doctor and did not require any medical treatment.

“He was then taken to Gable-cross police station in Swindon, where he was cautioned for obstructing an officer in course of their duty and later released.”

The store’s manager, Stuart Edginton, said on Tuesday that Mr Rawlinson had been offered a replacement TV while his existing set was being repaired, as well as an additional 12-month warranty.

He told the Adver that if the repairs had not worked the Samsung product would have been replaced.

He said exchanges only took place in the first 28 days after purchase.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: “Our policy is only to give CCTV to the police, not to the public.”

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