Fleetwood man arrested at Preston Sainsbury's after Lancashire Police sexual grooming undercover sting
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There were frantic scenes inside the Deepdale supermarket when plain clothes officers ambushed the 36-year-old near the entrance at around 1.20pm.
The sting briefly caused panic in the aisles when a squad of around 10 undercover officers suddenly pounced on the man after yelling “get down! get down on the ground!”.
He was pinned to the floor and cuffed before being marched out of the store and into the back of a waiting police van in the car park.
Today, a police spokesman said: “A 36-year-old man from Fleetwood was arrested on suspicion of sexual grooming and is currently in custody.”
The commotion startled shoppers and staff, who were unaware of the undercover operation, with some fearing an armed robbery was taking place.
Fearing the worst, the Specsavers unit went into lockdown, with staff locking customers inside for their safety.
“Honestly, I thought we were getting caught up in an armed robbery or something,” Adele Brindle told the Post, who described scenes of “chaos” in the supermarket.
“No-one shouted 'police' that I could hear,” added Adele, “just loads of commotion and lots of men shouting 'get on the ground!'
You can read more reactions from shoppers who witnessed the sting in our report here.
The 36-year-old suspect remains in custody this afternoon (Wednesday, May 4).