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Theft claim is last straw for loyal Holbeach shopper




THEFT SLUR: Mark Bowley is boycotting Holbeach's Tesco Superstore after he was questioned about the theft of some deodorant which he strenously denies. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG070218-102TW.
THEFT SLUR: Mark Bowley is boycotting Holbeach's Tesco Superstore after he was questioned about the theft of some deodorant which he strenously denies. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG070218-102TW.

A “humiliated” engineer from Holbeach is boycotting the town’s Tesco store after he was wrongly suspected of shoplifting.

Mark Bowley (54) is fuming, claiming he was told that it was the retailer’s policy to routinely approach any customer suspected of theft before they pay for their goods or leave the store.

I was shocked, embarrassed and humiliated while standing at the till in front of everyone, wishing the ground would open up and swallow me
Mark Bowley, of Holbeach

A Tesco spokesman invited Mark to discuss the matter with the store but also denied that its manager or a security guard were involved in the incident.

Mark said: “I’d just finished a 12-hour night shift when I got up on Saturday, January 27, cleaned my car quickly and went to Tesco to get some groceries.

“When I’d got what I needed I went to the checkout and, whilst packing my bag, I was approached by two people, one of whom was holding a black box with deodorant in it.

“One of them said ‘Hello’ before the other person held the box up and I was asked if I knew what it was.

“I said ‘I believe it’s deodorant but I don’t use it as I rarely buy branded products’ and one of them asked me if I’d be suprised to know that a customer had just told them that they had seen me taking the item out of the box.

“I was shocked, embarrassed and humiliated while standing at the till in front of everyone, wishing the ground would open up and swallow me.

“Then I looked at the cashier who was also shocked and paid her, at which point one of those who had approached me said that the customer had already left the store and then apologised for bothering me.

“To be told afterwards that it’s store protocol to approach any customer with an accusation of theft before they have paid for their shopping or even left the store is frankly unbelievable.”

The Tesco spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident at our Holbeach superstore and would encourage our customer to speak to the store manager if they would like to discuss the matter further.”

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