A security guard has been slashed in the neck after pursuing a shoplifting suspect from the Arndale shopping centre.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed they were called to reports of an assault shortly after 11.30am today, just minutes after the force launched a new ‘high visibility’ tactic aimed at deterring crime in the city centre.
A side street directly opposite TK Maxx on Market Street has been cordoned off while forensic officers comb the scene for clues.
They were seen picking up a broken bottle and collecting it for evidence as well as examining a black rucksack.
The Manchester Evening News understands the incident began when a male security guard approached the suspect in Poundland and there was an ‘altercation’, believed to be over an allegation of shoplifting.
The dispute continued outside the store and the guard pursued the suspect out of the shopping centre towards Market Street.
The guard – who works for the Poundland shop in the Arndale – was then further assaulted in an alleyway.
One shocked shopper described how she saw “one guy throwing his fists wildly with a sharp object and then chairs thrown everywhere.”
“Then they chased each other through TK Maxx! Police everywhere,” she said.
The attack left shops closed for around half an hour in the Arndale.
It is understood the guard was slashed in the neck with an object. Police say a knife was not used.
Pictures taken by the M.E.N at the scene cordoned off by police suggest the weapon could have been a large, glass bottle.
A spokesperson for North West Ambulance Service confirmed they sent a rapid response vehicle to the scene.
It is understood the victim was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital.
Fortunately, it is believed he suffered only minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.
A spokesperson confirmed Greater Manchester were called to reports of an assault.
David Allinson, Centre Director at Manchester Arndale, said: “I can confirm that an incident took place within the centre on Tuesday morning. The situation is under investigation and we are therefore unable to comment any further.”
Police said in a statement: “Police were called at around 11.30am on Tuesday May 7 2019, to reports that a man had been assaulted on Market Street in the city centre.
“He received a minor cut.
“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference number 792 of 07/05/19 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”
The incident came only minutes after Greater Manchester Police were in the Arndale for a ‘media opportunity’ to launch Project Servator.
The operation will see police deploy ‘highly visible and unpredictable patrols’ at any time across the city.
The tactic is being adopted after a successful pilot at Manchester Airport over the past year.
Police say Project Servator will target offenders “of all levels, from petty criminals to terrorists.”
Superintendent Chris Hill: “Project Servator is very much business as usual for the Force but we don’t want people to worry when they see extra officers out and about or more checks taking place.
“We are relying on the support of the public and local businesses to be our eyes and ears and help us to keep the city centre safe for everyone.
“This is all about working together to send a clear message to potential criminals – we are here, we’re watching and we will stop you.
“The patrols will happen anywhere across Greater Manchester at any time.
“Officers will also be handing out information about Project Servator to encourage people to remain vigilant and report anything that doesn’t feel right.
“If you have any concerns please talk to them or call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively you can report any suspicious activity at www.gov.uk/ACT or to the confidential hotline on 0800 789 321.”
A spokesperson for Poundland said: “We’re extremely upset that one of our security colleagues was attacked in the Arndale centre this morning.
“We’re clearly doing everything we can to help the police – our primary thoughts are for the member of our team that was injured and the other colleagues in store at the time.”
Source – Manchester Evening News