Off-duty Hastings and Rother police chief 'spat on by shoplifter' during arrest

An off-duty Hastings and Rother chief inspector says he was spat on and assaulted by a shoplifter while he was out getting lunch with his son.

Chief Inspector Jay Mendis-Gunasekera, Sussex Police district commander for Hastings and Rother, says he arrested the shoplifter on Sunday (May 15).

He said in a tweet: “So, out getting lunch with my son today and ended up arresting a shoplifter. This individual then went on to assault the security officer, spat on me and tried to snap my finger.

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“Just really upset by the bystanders that felt it was ok to have a go at me.

A district commander for Hastings and Rother was assaulted and spat on by a shoplifter he was arresting.

"I have restrained this individual on the floor for some time. Looks forceful and he plays up to the crowd. He’s come away arrested and in custody with no injuries, but the perception is I'm in the wrong.”

There was an outpouring of support for Chief Inspector Mendis-Gunasekera on social media, with Chief Constable Jo Shiner congratulating him on performing the duty to the public.

Chief Inspector Mendis-Gunasekera thanked the chief constable for “always being there to support your staff.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “The man who assaulted the chief inspector was charged with assaulting an emergency worker, theft, a section 4 public order offence for verbal threats made, and was also charged with common assault on a security officer who was on duty at the time.

"The man has entered a guilty plea and has been released on bail awaiting sentencing.”

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