A supermarket security guard has been left seriously injured after a shoplifter who stole £1.79 worth of chocolate launched a “frenzied attack” on him.
The 45-year-old was working in a shop in Bayswater, London, when he witnessed a man stealing from the confectionery aisle around 4am, police said.
He tried to stop the suspect leaving the 24-hour store, but he pushed past staff and escaped.
Scotland Yard said he returned moments later, however, and punched the security guard from behind, knocking him to the floor.
The suspect then proceeded to punch and kick the victim repeatedly for around 30 seconds. He eventually relented and escaped again.
The victim was left “shocked” and “distressed”, the Met Police said. He was taken to hospital with a fractured right ankle.
Police in Westminster have launched an investigation.
The suspect is described as black, slim, bald and around 6ft 2ins. He was wearing a black-and-white baseball cap with a motif on the front, a dark zip-up hooded top with white strings, a grey T-shirt, black jeans and grey trainers.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Gabi Kennedy-Hill said: “To date our enquiries have unfortunately been unsuccessful in identifying the suspect and we are now appealing for help from the public to see if they can tell us who he is.
“This man is clearly a violent individual who launched an attack on a security guard just trying to do his job. Instead of just making off when confronted, he returned and launched a prolonged and completely unnecessary attack on the victim.
“If anyone recognises who is he or has any other information, please contact police immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference 6540630/17, tweet @MetCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111