East Lothian Crime: Covid mask rage thug punched shop worker who refused to serve him

A Musselburgh man punched a shop worker to the head during a violent argument over wearing a face mask, a court has heard.
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Sean Strachan, 36, entered the McColl’s store at the town’s Delta Drive during the period of lockdown in 2020 without a face mask on.

He was told he would not be served due to not wearing a mask and after initially leaving the shop he returned soon after and punched employee Michael Hammond to the face.

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The shop worker suffered swelling to his mouth and a cut to his chin and he soon after informed the police of the assault on July 13, 2020.

Covid face mask row thug was fined at Edinburgh Sheriff CourtCovid face mask row thug was fined at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Covid face mask row thug was fined at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Strachan appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Mr Hammond.

Fiscal depute Abbie McKearlie told the court: “On the date liabeled at around 3.30pm Mr Hammond and Shona King were working in their employment at the locus.

“Mr Strachan has entered the locus and joined the queue for the post office.

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“There has been words exchanged between Mr Strachan and Mr Hammond which has resulted in Mr Hammond asking the accused to leave the store.

“The accused has left the store but returned a short time later and at this point Mr Strachan has assaulted Mr Hammond by punching him on the face with a closed fist before walking away.”

The court was told the shop employee was struck on the lip “causing swelling and small cut to the chin”.

The police were alerted to the assault but the court heard officers could not trace the accused at the time and he was arrested at a later date.

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Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss said: “You do have a record for public disorder. This crime is aggravated by the fact you assaulting someone who was working within a shop.

“These local shops were vital to the community during the Covid period and in particular the reason and background behind the assault relates to a time when people were very anxious.”

Strachan was fined a total of £470.

He pled guilty to assaulting Michael Hammond by punching him on the head at McColl’s, Delta Drive, Musselburgh, on July 13, 2020.