'Overzealous' Lidl security guard broke thief's leg while tackling him for shoplifting
An "overzealous" security guard at a Lidl supermarket broke a thief's leg after tackling him to the ground for shoplifting.
Leandro Da Silva, 28, kneeled on the man's body to restrain him, then grabbed another shoplifter and "piled" her on top of him.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Da Silva had received no training from his security firm before being stationed in the Lidl supermarket on Nicolson Street in the Scottish capital's Southside area.
He claimed he had been told by his employers that his job was to “stop shoplifters and apprehend them”.
On Friday, Da Silva admitted a charge of assaulting David O'Connor to his severe injury and restraining him with excessive force.
Da Silva, from Gilmerton in Edinburgh, was fined £140.
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O’Connor suffered complex fractures to the tibia and fibula in his left leg and also developed deep vein thrombosis.
He underwent at least two operations, the court heard, including having screws inserted.
Both O'Connor and Natasha Robertson admitted to police they had been in the store to shoplift on the day of the incident, 27 January 2020, the court heard.
Prosecutor Xander Van Der Scheer said a man and a woman entered the supermarket and “proceeded to steal items” before being spotted by Da Silva.
O'Connor and Robertson became “verbally abusive” when Da Silva approached, the court heard, and a “struggle ensued”.
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Mr Van Der Scheer said: “At that point the accused grabbed Mr O’Connor and the pair of them fell to the ground. The accused fell on top of Mr O’Connor who stopped struggling.”
He said that Da Silva “lay on top of Mr O’Connor with his knee pinning him to the ground”.
The prosecutor said Robertson approached and Da Silva “grabbed the female shoplifter by her hand and dragged her on top of Mr O’Connor, who was still lying on the ground”.
He said: “This effectively resulted in a situation where Mr O’Connor is on the floor, the female shoplifter is on top of him, and the accused is restraining both of them.
“This pile-up, if I can call it that, has then dissolved.”
Van Der Scheer said it was “unclear” from the CCTV exactly when and how O’Connor suffered the broken leg during the altercation with Da Silva.
The court heard another staff member put Mr O’Connor in the recovery position while an ambulance was called.
Defending Da Silva, Murray Robertson said his client was hired by a security firm and given “no training whatsoever” before being deployed to Lidl.
Robertson said Da Silva claimed his employers told him his job was to “stop and apprehend shoplifters”, something he’d “disabused” his client of.
The solicitor said Da Silva resigned following the incident and had no intention of working in the security industry again.
Robertson said Da Silva, who now works as a stock controller, had been “overzealous in what he was doing”.
Sheriff Roderick Flinn agreed Da Silva had been “overzealous”, adding it “wasn’t helped by the absence of training from your employer”.