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OAP, 81, banned from Asda for life for ‘verbally abusing’ staff over Covid rules
February 20, 2021
A pensioner has been banned from an Asda supermarket for allegedly verbally abusing staff over the store's Covid policy.
William Alcock, 81, was accused of hurling abuse at staff at the chain's Tunstall branch in Stoke-on-Trent after complaining about fellow shoppers not wearing face masks four weeks ago.
But he was forced to repeat his complaint during a second visit to the store a week later after counting another five rule breakers inside.
It is believed a row broke out, leading the supermarket to barring him for life.
Mr Alcock, who denies the allegation, said he was "made to feel like a criminal."
"We went into the store as usual with our masks on, it was just before midday," he told the Sentinel. "I observed seven people without face coverings. I was quite alarmed but we've been advised not to approach these people.
"When leaving the store I approached the security man and said I am rather disturbed about it. He said 'You can't do anything about it, we are not allowed to stop them'.
"The following visit there were four or five people without face coverings so I again made the approach to the same security bloke and he said 'You can’t tell us what to do, you're barred'.
"I said all I'm asking for is to be safe. The fact is that they are not stopping people and many supermarkets are not following the rules to protect us."
He called Asda's head office, but was informed they supported the store's decision.
He added: "We've been going to Tesco in Kidsgrove and they are very conscientious about people. I've not seen any customers without face coverings and they check you as you go in.
"I was quite upset about it because, after the number of years we have shopped there, we know where everything is. We have to ask people at Tesco at the moment.
"We have always been satisfied with Asda and their products but all I felt at the time was they were letting us down and not keeping us secure.
"I would have liked them to monitor my complaint and check these people. The government said everybody must wear these masks when they are in a public area."
Mr Alcock said he and his wife Maureen, 82, have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccination.
Now he is urging supermarkets to do more to keep customers safe.
He added: "We have had our jabs but that doesn't fully protect us. People are being so irresponsible. I felt quite fearful.
"If I'm ill I don’t go out so these people shouldn’t be going out either if they are exempt.
"I feel safer now I have had the vaccine but we are still following the rules where we can.
"I'd like to let it be known that I don't feel Asda are following the rules and how they treat customers when they complain is unfair. Aren't we allowed to complain? We were looked on as if we were the criminals."
An Asda spokesperson said: "We have security colleagues and Covid safety marshals at the front of our stores to remind customers of the need to wear a face covering and to provide masks free of charge to anyone who doesn’t have their own.
"We are grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues throughout the pandemic and we ask that all customers treat them with respect and comply with the law by wearing face coverings when visiting our stores unless they are medically exempt.
"Whilst we appreciate Mr Alcock's concerns, we do not tolerate verbal abuse towards our colleagues and although banning a customer is always a last resort we feel that it is necessary in this instance.’’