This is the shocking moment a couple attacked gift shop staff and left terrified customers “distraught” after being challenged for allegedly shoplifting.
Remarkable CCTV footage from Spends, on the Promenade in Blackpool, shows the chaos that erupted after the pair, who had two children in tow, were accused of pinching two tubs of candy floss and a cuddly toy on Saturday.
With the man and woman was an infant girl, believed to be under a year old, and a boy who looked to be around 10. During the row, the man can be seen holding the baby as he pushes staff, while the boy was reportedly crying and begging the woman to stop fighting.
A young girl was also knocked over.
Worker Alice Parker, who was behind the till when the melee broke out, said she tried to calm the situation but was pushed by the man and then had her hair grabbed from behind by the woman.
Alice, 50, from Bispham, said: “I was so frightened, I thought to myself, ‘Is this really happening?’, and I didn’t think I was going to be able to get up.
“The inside of my mouth was bleeding as I had caught my lip during the struggle, and a customer bear hugged me to get me out of the way.”
Shop manager Ewa Romanczuk, 32, from Wesham, yesterday said: “I had noticed them when they first came into the shop and they were acting suspiciously.
“After they left the shop, I confronted them and within an instant the woman just turned nasty.
“She said the items were bought from another shop, and then she started to throw punches at me. It was really shocking.”
After the physical attack, the couple left – but returned shortly after. A till was thrown by the woman, and she and the man lobbed items across the shop, including candy floss, the footage showed.
Alice said: “I think it’s appalling she thinks she can get away with it, and for him to be holding a baby while in that sort of situation is really shocking. She was in this psychotic rage.”
Alice had clumps of hair ripped out – with some were taken away by police to use as DNA evidence – and believes the family were holiday makers. She said they did not have local accents.
The assault at Spends, near to Madame Tussaud’s, was seen by a number of customers, some of whom tried to intervene. Some returned the next day to check on staff.
Despite their ordeal, both Alice and Ewa carried on working their shift and came back in the next day.
Alice said: “It was a busy night and there was plenty of customers still coming in so we just carried on.”
Police were informed of the attack and took copies of the CCTV which captured the incident.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We responded at 8.10pm to reports of an assault that had taken place at Spends gift shop.
“A 50-year-old woman was assaulted by an alleged shoplifter who made off from the scene.
“We are investigating the incident and ask if anyone has any information to contact police on 101 and quote the reference number WA1825162 of October 13.”
Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.