Aggressive customer pulls off supermarket worker's face mask when told to leave

A Co-op shop worker had her mask yanked off her face while trying to remove an abusive customer from the store.

In the footage, the maskless man can be seen squaring up to the woman and continually shouting at her: ‘Why are you touching me, what are you touching me for?’

He then reaches out and sharply pulls her mask down to her chin before turning and leaving the store. He then remains just outside the doors, continuing to shout and argue with staff.

The man was later charged and pleaded guilty to common assault, the BBC reports. He was also fined for not following Covid restrictions.

The video comes as supermarkets across the UK, including Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda, stepped up their enforcement of face masks in-store.

Those who attempt to shop without a mask will not be allowed inside, unless they have a medical exemption.

Paul Cheema, manager of Malcolm Stores in Coventry, told BBC Breakfast, who shared the Co-op video, that small independent stores could not afford the security needed to enforce such measures and keep themselves safe.

She went on: ‘As an independent retailer I haven’t got the funds like the big supermarkets to employ a security guard at the front door. You’d be talking, three, four, five hundred pounds a week. You double that and it’s £1000. 

‘And if you look at the estate of independent retailers across the country, we just don’t have the funds to do that.’ 

In London, Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said officers would be prepared to assist shop staff if there are incidents with customers becoming ‘obstructive and aggressive’.

Speaking on talkRADIO, Met Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh added that some areas could be difficult for officers, such as defining who has a medical exemption from wearing a face covering.

He went on: ‘I have asked over and over again for the onus of exemption to be on the individual. I know I’ve been criticised on social media etc. All I’m asking for is the fact that we carry on with the prosecution, and then you have an opportunity to show your exemption after.

‘So you’re not challenged in the street, you’re not embarrassed, you’re put on offer, you’re not made to feel belittled or anything like that – you have an opportunity after. 

‘That hasn’t been done. So it makes it far more difficult for my colleagues to act upon where they are.’

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