Ex-Salvation Army volunteer demands an apology after row which erupted when he was left battered and bruised in altercation

An 80-year-old man from Preston who volunteered for the Salvation Army in Plungington for over five years feels he has been treated unfairly after being left battered and bruised by challenging two youths he thought to be stealing from the shop.

By Emma Downey
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 4:31 pm

David Parker from Fulwood claims he had no choice but to leave his volunteering role after an altercation last June.

He claims to have tackled the two girls he thought had been stealing and was then dragged outside by them which left him with numerous bruises.

He said: “In June last year a gentleman came into the shop and said two young girls were putting stuff in their bags from the clothing rail outside so I kept my eye on them.

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Some of his sustained injuries.

“I asked the shop assistant on duty to have a look on CCTV to see if they were putting stuff in their bags and she confirmed they were.

“They then came into the shop and on their way out the girls rushed across to get out.

“There is a notice on the door which says please close and it was left open so I closed it.

“When they came to the door it was closed. They then pushed me to try and get me out of the way and grabbed part of my arm and started twisting it around.

David Parker wants an apology from the Salvation Army.

“They then dragged me out of the shop and continued to assault me.

“The staff member behind the counter called the police.”

He further claims he was treated unfairly and suspended without being able to tell his side of the story and, when allowed back to volunteer, he says that he had to sign a waiver that he couldn’t talk to the public nor could he leave his manager’s side which he likened to being tied to his “apron springs” and that of “Draconian measures”.

“The Salvation Army decided not to prosecute even though there is a sign that states: ‘Thieves will be prosecuted’ and suspended me for two weeks because I closed the door which they say made the problem worse and I should have let them go.

Some of the bruises David says he was left with after challenging the youths.

“In all my working life I have never had a stain on my character from the age of 15.

“I was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Good Conduct following 20 years on the ambulance service emergency duties.”

“I would like a full apology from them for my injuries.

“They haven’t been in touch to see how I am doing.”

David's bruised arm, which he claims was a result of having it twisted and being dragged out of the shop.

“This has caused my mental health to be affected.”

Pictures show the extent of his bruises after the altercation.

A spokesperson for the Salvation Army said: “We are really grateful for the time Mr Parker has given as a volunteer as without people giving up their time to help, we would not be able to run and raise vital funds for our work.

“It’s important that we have policies in place that protect our volunteers, staff and also our customers. One of our key safety measures is that we try to ensure that no one works in the shop alone and we cannot accept volunteers who do not wish to follow this important rule designed to protect everyone.”

David added: “I went down to the police three months later and was told no proceedings were being taken towards the two youths.

“I showed them pictures of my injuries and they said it was GBH and that they would look into it so as far as I am aware this is still the case.”

David feels he is owed an apology from the Salvation Army.

However, a spokesperson for Lancashire Police added that an investigation into the alleged assault had ceased as it was a “misunderstanding between the two parties”.