Private security guards who patrol Croydon town centre have been called “thugs in uniform” by a disabled man who claims they removed the walking stick from his hand and pinned him to the floor.

Carlton Reeves, 53, was visiting Croydon from his West Norwood home on February 10.

He claims he was trying to make a formal complaint to Next Outlet Croydon after a security guard was following him around the store in North End.

Mr Reeves claims he was with a manager waiting for the information to make a complaint when another security guard called in the Croydon BID Rangers.

The street ranger team was introduced in August 2022 by the Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) with the aim of deterring crime and anti-social behaviour.

It contracts the service out to a private security firm.

Croydon BID said it has “thoroughly investigated” the incident and concluded the team acted “lawfully and professionally”.

The organisation claims Mr Reeves was acting aggressively to staff in the shop who called the BID ranger team for assistance.

Mr Reeves said: “When the manager came she was trying to give an explanation but I said I would like to make a complaint.

"We went over to the desk and she was giving me the details, then another security woman came and said I could get the information on the internet and told me to leave.

“I said I was waiting until I got the information but then she called two security wardens to come in.”

Mr Reeves said he felt “threatened” by the situation that followed.

He said: “They said I have to leave and I said I was waiting for the information.

"Then they came and dragged the stick out of my hand and flung me to the floor.

“They were on my legs and on my arms – they pinned me to the floor.

"When I got up I said ‘I don’t feel well, please can you get a paramedic’ but they ignored me and told me to get out, I was walking so slowly.”

Mr Reeves has recently recovered from a stroke and now uses a walking stick.

He added: “They should be looking at the situation properly.

"The force and the action they took – they dragged my walking stick out of my hand and flung it to the floor. They are not the police, they are thugs in uniform. they should be held accountable.”

Mr Reeves complained to the Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) but feels no action has been taken.

Matthew Sims, Chief Executive, Croydon BID said: “On February 10, the Croydon BID Street Ranger team received a distress call from Next Outlet Croydon regarding an incident involving a member of the public acting in an aggressive manner towards staff causing them to fear for their safety.

“Assistance was provided by the Croydon BID Ranger team. Subsequently, on February 12, a complaint was received and thoroughly investigated, which included the collection and review of body cam footage and statements from staff involved.

"Following the review, we consider that our Street Ranger team acted lawfully and professionally.”

In September 2022, in another incident, the rangers were accused of “bullying” behaviour by a local dad who claimed they were offering to fight people down an alleyway.

At the time, the BID said it carried out an investigation and had taken “appropriate action”.

Next was contacted but did not provide comment before publication.