A DISABLED man has revealed how he was repeatedly victimised by Tesco security guards because of his “shifty” walk.
Ashley Beckwith has cerebral palsy which affects his walking and often leaves him in considerable pain.
So the 31-year-old was furious after supermarket security stopped him on suspicion of stealing and “stalked” him around the shop on at least four occasions in two months.
Tesco have apologised to Ashley for his upset him and promised to work with him on improving his experience shopping with them.
Ashley, from Northolt, London, experienced the “blatant discrimination” at Tesco’s Hayes Yeading Extra store in October and November.
He wrote to Tesco on their Facebook page yesterday (wed), saying: “Good morning Tesco, I have just come out of one of your stores and I have been stopped by security because they believe I stole something.
“This has now happened numerous times and they stated they believe that I had stolen something.”
He added: “Every single time, I get the reply, ‘You are acting shady and it is the way you walk’!
“In addition to this, I also have a member of staff following me around the store on the last three separate occasions, like I have some kind of stalker.”
Ashley said his official complaint resulted only in a promise that the store manager would be spoken to and he did not receive an apology.
“I would like a written apology and some form of compensation because it is completely unacceptable that you discriminate against someone because of the way they walk,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Have they not considered that I may have a disability because of the way that I walk?
“This is a blatant form of disability discrimination and I do not understand how you train your staff and your security to treat people in this way.”
The first incident happened in mid-October, when Ashley says he was detained by security and “stalked” around the store by a staff member.
Two more occasions followed involving other members of staff, one at the start of November and again on the 26th.
The most recent incident took place yesterday [4 Dec] at around 8am and prompted a frustrated Ashley to take to social media to complain.
His post prompted outrage from social media users.
Alice Rawlings wrote: “Tesco, this is absolutely disgusting behaviour.”
Sophie T-Law added: “Ashley this sucks! I’m so sorry this is happening to you, I’m also very very angry!
“I would try and make this share so that it gets into the news. It’s not acceptable! Muchos love.”
And Sharon Chater said: “Disgusting behaviour against a disabled person. Given that a lot of disabilities are hidden, this is unacceptable. Full support to you Ashley.”
Ashley confirmed that he later spoke with the general manager who agreed to tell his staff to “back off” and allow him to shop in peace.
The store manager also apparently blamed a theft problem in the area for his staff’s behaviour, saying they need to be “vigilant”.
Speaking today, Ashley said: “I do understand that they have a system where you can go to customer service and get a lanyard to put round your neck with some flowers on it that expresses that you are disabled and to give you a bit of time or help.
“But why should disabled people have to label themselves when they’re shopping?
“I’m quite annoyed and fed up to be honest. The general manager said he’s personally sorry, but I don’t want an apology from him I would like an apology from the staff that follow me around the store or single me out.”
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear how Ashley feels. We look forward to meeting him to see how we can fix this and improve his shopping trips with us. We want everyone to feel welcome at Tesco.
“Across the UK we are providing sunflower lanyards to customers who may need additional support, and we’re increasing the number of Changing Places toilets so that customers with disabilities can use our toilets safely and comfortably.”