Tesco gives Kingdom wardens the boot
ENFORCEMENT officers trying to dish out a ticket to an elderly Tesco customer were thrown off the supermarket’s land by its security staff.
Video footage of the confrontation suggests it wasn’t the first time staff at the store in Holyhead have had to tell Kingdom its wardens are not welcome on its property.
Anti-Kingdom campaigner Mark Watson began filming when he saw a warden talking to an elderly couple.
According to Mr Watson, a female Kingdom operative wrote out the ticket for littering and then got into a parked vehicle. As Mr Watson quizzed the other enforcer about why he was on private land, a security guard approached.
He told the Kingdom employee to leave, adding “you have been told before” not to go onto Tesco’s land. At that point the Kingdom staff drove away.
Mr Watson said: “I became aware of an elderly couple receiving a fine so tried to intervene. The officer issuing said ticket proceeded to scream in my face and shouted a caution at the old couple, then jumped in the car. I got my phone out and started recording. The rest can be seen in the video.
“I posted my video to show awareness that these Kingdom employees have no right to collect fines on private land.”
He said the video was “highlighting the problem we are facing with Kingdom employees thinking they can do what they want”.
Kingdom has contracts with councils across North Wales. In Conwy, there have been protests over the council’s use of the firm to catch dog walkers committing a range of offences.
Earlier this month a case against a Flintshire woman accused of dropping a cigarette outside a supermarket was dropped after Sainsbury’s backed her up by saying its own CCTV showed her putting the butt in the bin.
A spokesman for Tesco said: “We are aware of this incident t at our Holyhead store, where our security y guard intervened in order to diffuse the situation.”
Kingdom has approached for comment. been KINGDOM has come under further attack, with its staff accused of “dishing out fines like there’s no tomorrow”.
Holyhead Town Council has passed a motion condemning some of Kingdom’s practices, having sent a letter to Anglesey Council outlining its concerns.
It comes after the Tesco car park row.
Cllr Vaughan Williams, who proposed the motion, said: “We all want to see cleaner streets. But many people I speak to object to the methods employed by Kingdom.
“This company has faced reports of harassment, as well as complaints its enforcement officers have been intimidating and acted aggressively.
“Add to that the complaints about the firm targeting vulnerable people and handing out fines for trivial incidents, and you have to question whether we want this firm operating in our town.”
The Plaid Cymru councillor added: “Dishing out fines like there’s no tomorrow may well make this firm millions in profits every year but does it actually make our streets cleaner? I’d argue it doesn’t.”
Cllr Shaun Redmond, who sits on both Holyhead town and Anglesey councils, added: “Most, if not all, Holyhead councillors have been approached by members of the public who are concerned about the way Kingdom goes about its business.”
The motion states: “The town council expresses its concern at the alleged methods used by Kingdom in order to generate profit, namely the targeting and harassment of individuals, including vulnerable individuals in our community.”
In March 2017, Anglesey council authorised a 12-month trial with Kingdom to handle on-the-spot fines for littering and dog fouling.
Since December, Kingdom officers have also been patrolling some council-run car parks and the island’s high streets.
Following Gwynedd Council’s recent decision to start a 12 month trial with the St Helens-based company, Kingdom is now dealing with litter and dog fouling issues in every county in North Wales.
A Kingdom spokesman said: “We welcome the fact the town council recognises the need for effective enforcement.
“We do not, however, recognise the statement about the methods deployed by our highly trained and professional officers.
“In the last year only 0.29% of complaints have been upheld following investigation by the respective council.
“In addition, Kingdom is one of the largest and most highly regarded private companies in the UK, operating a range of services across a variety of sectors. The attempt to link overall financial results solely to the work of the enforcement division is illinformed at best.
“The reality is that those making the complaints are the ones committing the offence of dropping litter, and do not like getting caught doing so.
“Our message to that minority is simple: do not drop litter which spoils the environment for the majority.”