Sexual harassment at Sainsbury’s Forest Hill

Ladies, beware!

I was bagging my groceries at one of the manned tills in Sainsbury’s Forest Hill yesterday 15th Feb, around 6pm, when a man walked behind me and copped a feel of my genitals. It was not a mere brushing past, because I felt a distinct grab between my legs, so definitely not accidental. When I confronted him, he simply turned around, looked me in the eye, and laughed. He then proceeded to walk into the shopping area, like he had done nothing wrong.

Needless to say, he was obviously not there to do any shopping: he came from the direction of the main door (London Rd entrance), went past me and into the shop through the check-outs, wasted a bit of time in the tea/coffee isle and then calmly walked out of the shop.

The guy in question was a middle-aged man, tall, black, medium build (slightly on the skinny side, but not lanky) wearing a dark beanie hat and a dark green coat. He was walking at an awkwardly slow pace, but he was not physically impaired.

I told the lady at the till immediately after it happened. There were several members of staff around the place of the incident, but nothing was done to confront the man, or to make sure I was ok. I was visibly shocked, and a bit shaky while I finished paying for my groceries. I can’t believe they let him get out of the shop unchallenged.

Even though it is frankly a bit embarrassing for me to share, I felt that it was important to do so. Please, ladies, be vigilant when you’re out and about!!

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What a horrible experience, but thank you for sharing so others can be vigilant. They should have called the police. It’s terrible they did nothing.

He’s obviously a dangerous character and needs to be arrested. :frowning:

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That sounds awful. So sorry you had to go through that! But thanks for sharing this and alerting us. I’m shocked that they didn’t do anything to confront him.

I am sorry this happened to you. If you feel up to it you should report it to the police, it was sexual assault. I would also contact Sainsbury’s head office and complain. It horrible and distressing for you and should not have been dismissed by staff.

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I hope you are okay, and surely Sainsbury’s should be more responsible than this.

I would suggest you report it to the police, at least in case this isn’t an isolated incident. Reporting online might be convenient:

https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

If you have a till receipt or bank transaction, you might be able to pinpoint the time, and Sainsbury’s may well have CCTV capturing the assailant - should the police be inclined to investigate.

Once again I hope you are okay, and thanks for the warning.

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This sounds horrendous, there are some truly despicable people around.

As others have said, ideally report to the police and hopefully they can catch him.

Well done for being brave and bringing it to people’s attention.

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Please don’t feel embarrassed for sharing this and if you haven’t already, report it to the police.
It helps having a record of this (in case it happens to someone else) and hopefully catch them before they do it again.

So good of you to tell everyone about this, as it must be very upsetting for you.
Please let us know if you draw a blank with Sainsburys or the police because I’m sure there are a lot of people who will get behind you to make sure it’s properly investigated with a view to identifying this animal (I hope nobody takes offence at me using that derogatory term).

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@Eli This is awful and thank you for your bravery. So decent of you to tell us.

Last year I had cause to report sexual harassment in FH. If it’s something you feel you are up to, @PC_Kemal kindly directed me to PC Gillian Pearce who was a great support and assisted me appropriately within days. Gillian.D.Pearce@met.police.uk

Perhaps it’s possible to get cctv from Sainsbury’s?

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This is really awful on two counts. I hope you are okay. If you are going to contact Sainsbury’s it would/might be worth sending a email to the CEO and cc in their coms/PR - from a quick google I am sure you find both. This needs to be addressed swiftly.

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Thank you for sharing, and I’m so sorry you had such a horrible experience. I agree with the above comments that you should definitely report it to the police, and contact Sainsbury’s, too, copying in the head office. Definitely ask about CCTV in Sainsbury’s sooner rather than later, to lessen the possibility of any tape being reused.

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Sainsbury’s Chief Executive is Simon Roberts

simon.roberts@sainsburys.co.uk

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I am so so sorry this happened, how distressing for you and how crap they didn’t challenge him or support you by calling police.

Stores are responsible for the the safety of customers on their premises. I understand the security staff don’t exactly have power of arrest, but they do have power to remove people from the premises. And every inch of that store will be covered by cctv, he might even be identifiable and an known offender.

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This.

Wouldn’t the correct course of action have been for staff to inform the manager immediately and for them to instruct security to detain the person whilst the police arrive? They detain shoplifters regularly.

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I think the difference is that their own staff have witnessed the shoplifting. Therefore, they are confident that an offence has occurred. Only police have the power to make an arrest on suspicion.

Perhaps. I wonder how long it takes to check CCTV urgently. Perhaps less time than the perpetrator was in store.

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Hello, everyone!

I just wanted to say thank you for all the kind messages and the support that you’ve shown me. It reminds me of why I love this community so much, and I hope this can help make us a safer neighbourhood.

The incident has been reported to the police, and I’ll keep you updated if any progress is made.

Thank you again for being awesome!

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There is usually a member of staff at the security monitor station near the entrance. But staff are looking for shoplifters.

I’m late to see this post & reply. But I just wanted to say as well why should you fell embarrassed, it is a truly horrible thing to happen to you.
I can’t believe nobody even attempted to call security to apprehend him.
I also agree, I would contact the chief executive. He needs to know how his staff are responding to customers when things like this happen.
I hope you have recovered, & that the police may know of him already.
Please keep us posted.

Hang on, so you reported that you had been sexually assaulted yet the staff did nothing. What did they say, exactly?

In the current climate I’m amazed they weren’t more concerned.

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