A “RACISM” probe has been launched after a black former soldier claimed he was pushed out of Andover police station.

The drama began when Paul Thomas, who was waiting for a taxi on Winchester Street, saw a commotion in the street on Monday, September 21.

The 40-year-old said a man ran past being chased by a restaurant worker who was accusing him of trying to steal from the till.

So the father-of-three set off after the suspect and the pursuit took them towards Andover police station, where the man was restrained by officers.

It was while the suspect was being processed that Mr Thomas, of Sedge Road, Augusta Park, claims he was picked on and he has now lodged a complaint alleging physical assault and racism.

Mr Thomas, a former Tidworth-based Lance Corporal who served in the Army for 16 years including postings in Kosovo, Iraq twice and Ireland, said: “As I was a witness I was just waiting around to give my statement when an officer started shouting at me ‘who’s he, why’s he here?’ “I was pushed out of the station by this officer who was very aggressive, he was saying ‘F this’ and ‘F that’.

“I didn’t get chance to say a word. I was pushed down the stairs, he grabbed my shoulders and bounced me off a car.

“It was assault and all I was doing was waiting to give a statement.

“I believe it was racially motivated, I don’t think it would have happened if I was white.

“The police are supposed to uphold the law. This isn’t America.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary told the Advertiser: “I can confirm that a complaint was received from Mr Thomas to our Professional Standards Department. It has now been recorded and officers from PSD will be making contact with Mr Thomas in due course to discuss his complaint.”

The spokesman said the force would not comment further on the incident until its investigation was complete.