big issue
Marks and Spencer said they will be investigating the incident

The Big Issue charity has said it is "shocked and appalled" after footage emerged of one of their vendors being wrestled to the ground by a Marks & Spencer security guard.

The incident in central London's Covent Garden, filmed by a member of the public, shows the guard grabbing the Big issue seller by his arms and pinning them behind his back while attempting to move him out from in front of the store.

After the seller falls to the ground, the security guard can be telling the vendor to "stop resisting" while placing him in a chokehold-style restraint.

The vendor manages to free himself and walk away, before the security guard grabs him again and throws him onto the road. The Big Issue seller can then be heard shouting "get him off me" and "help" as he lays on the ground.

A second Marks & Spencer staff member then comes to assist the guard and both men drag the man off the floor in front of shocked onlookers.

The man then gets to his feet before being told "don't come back" by the security guard.

It is not known what started to conflict between the pair. Marks and Spencer later confirmed neither of the staff members seen in the video, believed to have been filmed in 2016, work for the company anymore.

A spokesperson said: "We're very disappointed to see this footage. Nothing justifies this behaviour – it is completely unacceptable and is not tolerated at M&S.

"This incident took place over a year ago but was not reported to us at time. Nonetheless, we've launched an immediate investigation into the incident. Neither the Security Guard or M&S staff member work for us now and we are taking appropriate actions to ensure that this behaviour doesn't happen again."

A Big Issue spokesperson added: "We are appalled by this shocking and apparently unprovoked attack on a vulnerable person.

"Big Issue sellers face all manner of hardship on the streets and are frequently subject to abuse, but we would hope that the premises of a major retailer would represent a safe environment.

"As an organisation we've enjoyed a good relationship with Marks & Spencer over the years, so we sincerely hope this an isolated incident which will be treated with the seriousness it deserves."