Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Man arrested for Tesco TV protest

Police forcibly removed Eric Rawlinson from the Tesco Extra store by using a pava incapacitant spray on his eyes

A father-of-two has been arrested for holding a peaceful protest inside a supermarket over a faulty television.

Police forcibly removed Eric Rawlinson from the Tesco Extra store by using a pava incapacitant spray on his eyes and striking him with a baton on both his arms.

The unemployed former design manager was staging a sit-in at the Swindon supermarket because managers told him they would not exchange his 10-month-old TV set that had a faulty on-off switch.

Mr Rawlinson, from Abbey Meads, spent four hours protesting for his consumer rights at the store in Octal Way, Swindon.

When police arrived the 41-year-old was sat on a swing chair in the corner of the electrical goods area.

He told the officers that he would not move so they squirted his eyes with the noxious spray - more potent than CS gas - and then hit him with the baton on both arms to release his grip from the chair.

Staff and customers watched as he was handcuffed face down on the floor. Then two other police vans and two squad cars arrived.

Mr Rawlinson told the Swindon Advertiser newspaper: "It's the giants against the little people. I was given an offer for a repair service but under my consumer rights I rejected it because I wanted an exchange.

"Too many people would go quietly and accept it but I believe I have a right of exchange."

Staff were "polite" but refused to back down over the £599 widescreen set, Mr Rawlinson said. Store manager Stuart Edginton said he was forced to call Wiltshire Police because Mr Rawlinson ignored repeated requests to leave and warnings from staff.

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