Reliance Security has praised the courage and commitment of one of its officers who suffered a terrifying ordeal after challenging an Asda shopper who left the store without paying.
Colin McLaughlin was thrown onto the bonnet of the shopper’s car and had to cling on ‘for dear life’ as the driver swerved and braked around the car park of the store at the Jewel Shopping Centre in Edinburgh trying to shake him off.
The Reliance officer was eventually thrown onto the kerb and left in agony as the car sped away.
Police later traced the driver who was sentenced to 240 hours community service, and banned from driving for two years after admitting stealing dog food and lager and assaulting the Reliance officer.
Damian Timson Reliance Security’s Scottish Operations Manager said:
“Our operational guidance to officers like Colin is to do everything they can to ensure the security of the property they are looking after, without putting themselves at risk.
“But Colin could have no way of knowing that a routine request to accompany him back into the store would escalate into such a dangerous situation.
“We are extremely proud of his commitment and his courage in dealing with the matter.”
Security Officer McLaughlin who is from Edinburgh played down the incident saying: “I was really just doing my job.
“But I must admit it was a terrible shock when a routine case of questioning a shopper about a purchase turned into such a serious situation.
“Our standard procedure is to get someone in this situation to agree to come back into the store so we can sort the matter out.
“But by the time I had established that this man had failed to pay he was already at his car.
“I rushed out and spoke to him as he sat in the drivers seat, with a couple in pals beside him in the car.
“When he admitted he hadn’t paid and refused to come back into the store I had no alternative but to take his car number. I was standing in front of the vehicle taking its registration number when he drove straight at me.
“I wasn’t being a hero jumping onto the car…he floored it and I was thrown onto it and just instinctively hung onto the top of the bonnet.
“It was really terrifying. It’s the sort of thing you see in gangster movies, but you never expect to be clinging on for dear life to a car bonnet while flying around an Asda car park.
“I was a lot more than shaken up by the incident. I was off work for a couple of weeks and in pain for a good couple of months from torn ligaments in my leg following the impact of hitting the kerb”.
Mr McLaughlin is now back at work.