A VIDEO showing two men hitting staff with foam tubes at a McDonald’s restaurant in Burnley has been slammed.
The 90-second clip, which has clocked up tens of thousands of views on social media, shows Ben Hall and Joel Melia attacking two female employees with the foam.
Last night, the teenagers refused to apologise for the incident, despite police confirming they were investigating reports of an assault.
Burnley business leader Brian Hobbs said the prank, which targeted staff as they worked, was ‘abhorrent’.
The video, which was posted on Facebook by the men’s friend, Lewis Denwood, has gone viral, attracting almost 12,000 Facebook likes, being shared by 8,000 viewers, and prompting 3,000 comments.
One employee, who is visibly upset after being hit in the stomach and on the head, chases the men out of the shop while a male colleague appears to be on the phone to police.
Mr Hobbs, president of Burnley Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s ludicrous. I find it absolutely abhorrent that people think this is ok.
“Unfortunately, what seems like a bit of a laugh with alcohol on board isn’t nice for those on the receiving end.
“Clearly it’s the alcohol that is the problem in this case. Even if it was intended as a bit of fun, it can be extremely intimidating for the staff.
“I absolutely condemn this behaviour. I would question why these drunken idiots even need to be out at 7am.”
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Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “It might be fun for them but it certainly isn’t for the people on the receiving end.
“You expect people to treat the staff with the respect they deserve. If the staff had reacted, they would have got the sack so why do these lads think this is acceptable?
“They are purely doing their job. Nobody goes to work to be attacked.”
Coun Shah Hussain, for the Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward where the incident happened, said: “I wouldn’t tolerate that either if I was a member of staff and it happened to me. I would feel aggrieved and people shouldn’t have to put up with it at work.
“Filming this sort of thing and putting it on Facebook seems to be some sort of craze at the moment and it isn’t good. It might be harmless fun to those that are doing it but it is not to the victim.
“I hope the police take a harsh approach to it and send a message out.”
Mr Hall, an apprentice electrician, said the trio had visited the St James’s Street restaurant after a night out drinking in Burnley.
He admitted to being drunk in the video but claimed the member of staff ‘over-reacted’ when she was hit.
The 18-year-old said: “We had more than a few. On the way up to McDonald’s we found some scaffolding safety foam and thought it'd be funny to have a fight with them and it just carried on in McDonald’s.
“We thought we'd involve the staff but I don't think they were too impressed.”
The video shows Mr Hall and Mr Melia, a 19-year-old bricklayer, wrestle with each other on the restaurant floor and a voice can be heard saying: “These McDonald’s staff are mugging you off.”
The pair then attempt to go behind the counter but are stopped by two female members of staff. One woman is hit on the head by Mr Melia, and is struck again in the stomach as she tells the men to leave the restaurant.
Once outside, Mr Hall hits the woman again from behind.
Asked if he wished to apologise, Mr Hall said: “Not even a tiny bit. It was harmless fun and nobody got hurt so I don't think I should feel bad.”
He added: “She threatened us back so we’re equal.”
Mr Melia, a part-time footballer with North West Counties Football League Premier Division side Barnoldswick Town, described the episode as ‘a piece of fun’.
He said: “I won’t apologise. We were just messing about. I think she over-reacted if anything. There was no need for her to get on like she did.
“The police spoke to us outside and just sent us on our way.”
Police confirmed they were investigating the incident, which happened at 6.55am last Saturday, but said that no arrests had been made.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said: “We can confirm that an incident took place and the police were contacted.”
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