A HARNHAM man was left feeling “humiliated” and “violated” after being stopped and handcuffed by police in the city centre.

Matthew Brignall, who is a full-time carer for his father, says he was walking through Queen Elizabeth Gardens on Friday at about 1.45pm when he came across officers.

He says he made a joke about a “police state” before being grabbed by an officer who told him he fit the description of a suspect in a bag theft.

Mr Brignall said: “I’m angry, upset and humiliated. I’ve never committed a crime and always supported the police. I’m so disgusted by the behaviour, it was so over the top. It was very intimidating.”

He says there were about eight officers at the scene.

“I only said a bad joke, I shouldn’t have done it. They wouldn’t have stopped me otherwise,” said Mr Brignall.

“They didn’t need to put handcuffs on me.” He says the handcuffs were so tight they left marks on his wrists.

Mr Brignall, who is part of the Harnham Neighbourhood Association, says he was “made to feel like a criminal” and people were pointing at him during the ordeal.

He says he feels “tarnished” and “violated” and that the incident was like “a bad dream”.

Mr Brignall has called for an apology from Wiltshire Police.

“I know they were doing their job but it was overzealous.”

He believes officers could have dealt with it in a more “rational way” and not in front of the public.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said officers received a report of a handbag theft and apprehended a man matching the description of the suspect seen fleeing the scene, who was handcuffed whilst police established further details.

The spokesman added: “It was quickly established that this man was not involved in the incident and he was released from handcuffs and allowed to go on his way. He was not arrested at any point.

“We apologise if this man is upset by the way he was spoken to by police or the way he was treated. However, officers were responding to a crime in progress.

“A few minutes later a further man also matching the description of the suspect was stopped by police and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft.

“We would like to thank the various members of the public who assisted us in the search for this man, some of whom initially gave chase following the incident.”