A security guard at a branch of Wilkos was left with a bloody nose after tussling with a customer over a selfie stick.
The customer, Salah Ahmed (47), had just been to the gym, where he had been working out and taking pictures of himself at the same time.
He had then gone into Wilko in Swan Street, Loughborough, to purchase a candle and some chocolates, where a security guard mistook him for a regular shoplifter.
When Ahmed, of Queens Road, Loughborough, went to look out of the window of the shop, the security guard believed he was trying to make off without paying and went to stop him.
He noticed the selfie stick in Ahmed’s pocket and tried to snatch it, believing it to be a weapon.
Ahmed resisted and the pair banged their heads together, leaving the security guard with a bloodied nose.
At Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Ahmed was given a 12-month condition discharge for common assault. A charge of theft was dropped.
Prosecutor Natalie Evans told the magistrates the assault on August 26 last year was charged on the basis that Ahmed was reckless, not that he set out to headbutt the security guard.
She said: “The security guard witnessed the defendant pick up some items and go towards the exit.
“The security guard has followed him and asked him to [not leave] the store. The defendant has told him he is going to pay for the items.
“The security guard saw a selfie stick and believed it to be a metal pole and tried to take it from him and was prevented from doing so by the defendant.
“They were tussling over the selfie stick.”
The police were called and the security guard told them that Ahmed was a regular shoplifter and had deliberately head-butted him, while Ahmed claimed he had planned to pay for the goods and said the guard had lurched forward while tugging on the selfie stick.
Duncan Jefferson, representing Ahmed, said the security guard’s suggestion that Ahmed had stolen in the past was “complete rubbish” and disproved by Ahmed’s criminal record.
He said: “This is an unfortunate incident that took place on the basis of a misconception by the security guard.
“Mr Ahmed had a Wilko gift voucher and credit and debit cards in his wallet. He is known to the staff in the shop as a legitimate shopper.
“He had been to the gym and that’s why he had the selfie stick – he had been taking pictures of himself working out.
“He did not leave store – he was just looking out through the window.
“My client has tried to keep hold of the selfie stick and he shouted out, ‘Call the police, call the police, I’ve done nothing wrong’.
“He accepts it’s because of that struggle it happened, but if the security guard had let go it wouldn’t have happened. He wasn’t trying to run away.
“It’s very unfortunate it happened like that.”