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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Superstore 'treated me like a thief’

A DISTRAUGHT pensioner wrongly accused of shoplifting at Tesco says he was made to feel like a criminal.

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Harry DoLoughan: Wrongly accused of shoplifting by Tesco.

Harry Doloughan, 68, was left shattered after he was treated as a shoplifter by staff and police at the Whitehaven shop – 11 days after the alleged offence.

Mr Doloughan said he was told that CCTV footage was available to prove his guilt.

He says a police officer told him he could either admit the offence and pay a fine, or be taken to the police station. Staff subsequently banned him from the shop for a month and he was put on store watch.

Mr Doloughan, who was devastated by the allegations, says he returned home and found two fish packets which he had bought on that particular day. He took these back to the shop to be checked and proved his innocence.

Tesco has apologised to Mr Doloughan, saying it is very sorry for the mistake, and is now offering retraining for its staff.

Mr Doloughan said: “I was in such a state of shock.”

He and his wife Linda, of Bransty Road, were regular Tesco shoppers and visit the cafe daily. On that day the couple had been in the cafe, as usual, and he had gone to the toilet.

“As I approached I said hello to the police officer standing in the area. He reached out to me and put his hand on my shoulder and told me to wait,” he said.

A shop assistant walked past with a security guard and identified Mr Doloughan as an alleged shoplifter.

He said: “The police officer told me that there was two ways of handling this, I could either admit my guilt, pay the fine and the matter would be over. Or if I said I wasn’t guilty of the offence I would be arrested and taken to Workington Police Station. He didn’t specify how much the fine would be.”

Tesco then said they would take no further action with police and would instead impose a lifetime ban, which was then cut to a month.

Mr Doloughan said: “If they think someone has shoplifted, they should stop them right away. I just can’t believe that they waited 11 days – when I’d been in the shop every day since the alleged offence – and targeted me for being a shoplifter. I was made to feel like criminal and I hadn’t done anything wrong.”

Mrs Doloughan said: “I looked through the receipts and rubbish and found the two fish packets, one for 60p and the other for 80p.” Checks were carried out at the store and it was confirmed Mr Doloughan had bought the items.

“If we didn’t have those Harry would have been completely stuck. What if we’d put our bins out? We would have had no evidence to show that he is innocent.”

The couple say they will not shopping in Tesco again – although they will continue to use the cafe, as it’s run by a different company.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to Mr Doloughan for this mistake, and we have both written to him and met with him to apologise in person. We are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again, and colleagues are attending retraining on our procedures. Once again, we are very sorry.”

Have your say

Some of the staff in the whitehaven store are miserable and ignorant and this being the main reason we dont shop there any more
staff customer training needs to be done

Posted by An Ex shopper on 25 March 2013 at 18:53

tesco whitehaven have some real ignorant staff the customer service is nil.they could do with full re-training.

Posted by billyboy on 14 March 2013 at 11:06

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