Morrisons refused to serve alcohol to disabled Warsop man

NMAC12-2008-2''Colin Hewitson, right, and his brother Dale of Warsop
NMAC12-2008-2''Colin Hewitson, right, and his brother Dale of Warsop

A WARSOP man is demanding an apology from Morrisons after his brother was refused sale of alcohol because his disability was mistaken for drunkenness.

Dale Hynes (45) had taken his brother Colin Hewitson (32) to the Mansfield Woodhouse branch of the supermarket to buy beer and food after they had been playing snooker together.

Colin suffered an horrific brain injury as a teenager after being kicked in the head by a horse and was left with severe disabilities, including mobility and speech problems.

But when the pair came to pay for their goods, which included a salad from Morrisons’ salad bar, a crate of smooth and a crate of lager, the checkout girl would not sell them the alcohol.

Dale, who is Colin’s carer, said: “We got to the till and she was staring at Colin, but people do stare at Colin.

“She started putting the salad and bits and bobs through and said ‘on this occasion we are not going to serve you any beer’ - I thought she was joking.

“She said ‘you have got bleary eyes and I have been looking at him and he is slurring his words.”

Dale and Colin, of Cherry Grove, Warsop, had not drank any alcohol at the snooker club and tried to explain about Colin’s disability to the checkout girl, but she still refused to sell them the beer.

“She didn’t really say much but there were about eight people in the queue behind and I started to feel a bit small,” said Dale.

Dale asked to speak to the manager but after spending nearly 10 minutes again explaining what they had been doing, Dale and Colin left the store without making a purchase.

“If the manager had come out and said ‘I realise that she’s made a mistake’, that would have been fine. We would have just asked her to use her common sense and that would have been done with.

“Instead he grilled us for 10 minutes about where we had been and what we had had to drink,” said Dale.

“Colin has lost a lot in his life and if we can’t go and get a tray of beer so he can have a beer watching telly in his house, we have shot it.”

When they arrived home, Dale’s wife Tracey was extremely angry about the way they had been treated and sent an email to Morrisons complaining.

But after receiving a standard reply, they telephoned and emailed again, asking for a written apology to Colin.

No apology has been forthcoming. Colin said that he was ‘upset’ by the incident, which has knocked his confidence about going to the supermarket.

“I was very upset because I spent about 20 minutes doing my salad,” he said.

“She looked young and probably has not come across anyone like us before.”

“If they dealt with it differently, it would have been finished,” added Dale.

“Everyone makes a mistake, but they didn’t deal with it properly.”

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “We take the selling of alcohol very seriously, and one of our legal responsibilities is to refuse service to an individual that we believe to be intoxicated.

“There was a misunderstanding at the checkout over Mr Hewitson’s disability which initially caused the purchase to be referred to the duty manager.

“However, as soon as his condition was explained to us we offered to complete the transaction. We have apologised for any upset and embarrassment caused.”