• Story by Lindsey Kennedy, taken from the Western Morning News, 19 September 2003.
Supermarkets are all too used to shoppers' antics being captured on security cameras - but staff at a Cornish store got more than they bargained for after discovering an other-worldly explanation for beer cans flying off the shelves.
Bemused staff at the Co-op store at Queen's Square in Penzance realised their late-night vandal was in fact a
mischievous ghost after looking at CCTV footage. Duty manager Avril O'Leary said: "We have had all sorts of strange things going on."
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Mysterious footsteps, power cuts and stock moving after closing time have plagued staff for months. But now they claim the ghost, affectionately dubbed George, has been
caught red-handed. The moment when a ghostly hand reaches out and pushes the beer off the shelf was captured by the shop's in-store CCTV system.
"Three of us were working that night and we were shutting our tills when we noticed cans of Stella all spilt over the floor, some distance from the shelf. We looked at the CCTV and it was as if they had been pushed off the shelf by something. You can just about make out an arm on the
video," said Avril.
She said George was a more recent addition to the store's complement of ghosts, as the upstairs warehouse had been haunted for many years by an old lady.
Avril, 56, said she had even come face to face with the woman. "I doesn't unnerve me at all - I find it fascinating," said Avril. "Quite a few managers have heard footsteps up and down the stairs when no one's there. The lift doors often open and shut for no reason."
The footage appeared on GMTV yesterday morning.
Medium Emma Schofield, who has been investigating the phenomenon, told the programme she felt a "strong" male presence in the store. "He feels very strongly that he needs to have some fun," she said.
A GMTV spokesman said: "You can see a hand on the CCTV footage and when our reporter tried to send the tape to London so we could have a look, it snapped in half, for absolutely no reason. It seemed very convincing."
But expert Ian Addicoat, a member of the South West Paranormal Research Organisation, said he was not entirely convinced. He said: "We were asked to look at the tape a while ago and there is one second missing from the timing. "The time on the tape is constant until the crucial moment, when the beer comes off the shelf, then it jumps. The cans go straight from the shelf and then appear on the floor. "I am not suggesting it is a hoax because it is quite possible that the place is haunted, but the tape worries me and we would need to do more research."