This shocking video shows the moment a burly Tesco security guard physically restrained a suspected champagne thief – despite being TWICE her size.
The young woman accused of stealing two bottles of bubbly is heard screaming in pain as she is picked up and carried back into the store to be detained.
Some witnesses accused the guard of ‘manhandling’ the woman – while others praised him for doing his job.
The store said it was aware of the incident in Penzance, Cornwall and was assisting police with enquiries.
The woman, in her 20s, was detained until police arrived when she was arrested for theft and assault.
The incident was filmed by a male shopper and uploaded to Facebook in a public post, saying “a large grown man” shouldn’t have been so physical with the woman.
The shopper, who is anonymous, said: “It seemed excessive from a completely neutral point of view. It was quite traumatic.”
But the security guard received an overwhelming level of support online, with hundreds of people saying he did the right thing in apprehending the woman.
Chantelle Natalie Coe said the security guard “was doing his job” and not manhandling her, as some suggested.
She said: “I say good flamming job and well done, screw what anyone else thinks he’s a gentle giant, end of.”
Dean Kent added: “Maybe he should have just let her walk out of the shop without paying for whatever she decided took her fancy and let the rest of us law abiding people who work and pay for our goods pick up the tab.
“Sadly the outcome will probably be her getting a light slap on the wrist and him losing his job, his mortgage etc.”
Patricia Hayward said: “The security guard was only doing his job, if she had gone quietly back into the store it would not have happened.”
Nicola Mortimer said: “If the public new (sic) what Tesco staff have to deal with on occasions you would understand this.”
Only a very small minority of people felt the Tesco employee went too far, such as Paul Smitham who said the security guard put himself in a “very precarious position”.
He said: “Simply no need to pick her up and drag her kicking and screaming through the store.
“He may have been injured, she may have been injured, some bystander may have been injured by her flailing about.
“Quite simple, if he was well trained he would know this to be the case.
“Restrain, hold and wait for assistance from the police, that is his duty and that would have saved him from what is in my opinion a very embarrassing display from a ‘professional’.”
The Tesco branch declined to comment but a company spokesman said: “We are assisting police with this matter.”