THE boss of Beales has claimed staff were “harassed” and “shaken” when animal rights activists staged a protest in the Bournemouth store’s cosmetics department.

Chief executive Tony Brown said police should have done more after the protest turned into an angry confrontation with security staff.

But police said no one made a formal complaint and protesters insisted the demonstration was peaceful.

Nine people carrying signs and a megaphone and wearing black T-shirts with slogans entered the store at around 1.45pm on Sunday and approached the Mac make-up counter.

Video footage shows shouts and an altercation with security staff before the protesters were ejected. They were questioned by police nearby on Old Christchurch Road.

Mr Brown said: “I believe everybody’s got the right to peaceful protest. But they came into the store harassing staff, harassing customers, shouting and swearing and pointing out people.”

He said a member of his security staff was grabbed by the throat.

“They should have been arrested. If I went out into the street and grabbed them by the throat, I would be arrested. I don’t understand why they were free to move on,” he said.

“Our staff were shaken. No one comes to work to be shouted at and accused of all sorts of actions. All they do is stand behind a counter and try to serve our customers.”

Police said they were called about demonstrators “refusing to leave” the store.

A statement said: “Officers attended around 10 minutes later and the protesters were already leaving the premises.

“Officers spoke with security staff and the demonstrators and ensured that they left the vicinity peacefully.

“Two allegations of assault were made to officers at the scene but, when the alleged victims were spoken to further, it was established that they did not wish to make a formal complaint.”

Officers will review CCTV footage and other evidence to see whether any offences had been committed.

One protester, who gave her name as Carrie, said they were trying to raise awareness about animal testing for Mac products sold in China, where it is a legal requirement. She said: “It was just a meeting of friends and we decided to do a peaceful protest.”

Mac says it does not use animal testing, nor does it commission or endorse it.

A statement on its website says: “While some governments conduct animal testing to prove safety before they will allow us to sell our products, we are advocating for change to prove there are alternatives.”

Another protester told the Daily Echo that the protest had been peaceful and that security staff had inflamed the situation.

“After a long conversation with the police, whom I found to be extremely understanding of the situation, we were offered their protection that afternoon if we were planning to demonstrate anywhere else,” she said.

The campaigning group Dorset Animal Save was holding an event in Bournemouth Square on the same afternoon but said it was not involved with the protest at Beales.

A statement said: "We use a love-based community organising approach based on non-violence, love and truth demonstrating a factual exposé of the ethical, environmental and health issues behind the meat and dairy industry."