Shocking footage has emerged of a Marks & Spencer security guard appearing to body slam a Big Issue vendor after he refused to return to the store for questioning.
Dozens of witnesses watched in disbelief as the pair wrestled on the floor outside the department store in Covent Garden, Central London.
The homeless man screamed ‘get off me’ as he desperately tried to escape before being thrown to the cobbles like a rag doll.
He was heard howling in pain as store employees tried to haul him back inside but they let him go after the commotion drew a crowd.
Marks & Spencer condemned the behaviour as ‘completely unacceptable’ and confirmed it is launching an immediate investigation.
The dramatic video – filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone – emerged on social media today.
It shows the security guard trying to drag the man towards the store entrance with both arms pinned behind his back.
When he resists, the guard grabs him by the neck and pulls him to the pavement.
He puts him in a headlock and says: ‘Stop resisting, stop resisting.’
He manages to free himself but as he is walking away the guard appears to rush up on him from behind and wrap both arms around his shoulders.
Onlookers gasp as the man is hurled off the kerb and slammed into the concrete.
Another member of staff tries to block the camera with his hand and goes to assist his colleague.
The security guard says ‘get him inside’ and they start trying to drag him up off the ground.
The man filming says: ‘What you doing, mate? Oh, my days.’
A large crowd gathers on the other side of the street and staff eventually decide to release the man, saying: ‘Don’t come back.’
It is not known what the man was accused of.
A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer confirmed the security guard no longer works for the company.
She added: ‘We’re very disappointed to see this footage. Nothing justifies this behaviour, it is completely unacceptable and is not tolerated at M&S.
‘This incident took place over a year ago but was not reported to us at the time. Nonetheless, we’ve launched an immediate investigation into the incident.
‘This security guard no longer works on behalf of M&S and we are taking appropriate actions to ensure that this behaviour doesn’t happen again.’
A spokeswoman for the Big Issue said: ‘We are appalled by this shocking and apparently unprovoked attack on a vulnerable person.
‘Big Issue sellers face all manner of hardship on the streets and are frequently subject to abuse, but we would hope that the premises of a major retailer would represent a safe environment.
‘As an organisation we’ve enjoyed a good relationship with Marks & Spencer over the years, so we sincerely hope this an isolated incident which will be treated as seriously as it deserves to be.’