A disabled gran was left frustrated and her carer was embarrassed when they fell foul of strict rules over the sale of cigarettes during a trip to the shops in Fleetwood.
Kath Leadbetter, 58, of Eskdale Avenue in Larkholme, Fleetwood, was accompanied by one of her carers when she went shopping for groceries at the town’s Asda store.
Mrs Leadbetter, who needs an electric wheelchair because of a muscle wasting complaint and the effects of a car accident, had finished the main shopping and was phoning for a taxi.
She asked the carer, who is 21, to go to the counter to buy some cigarettes. But the care worker, who was in her carer’s uniform, was told she would have to provide ID.
Unfortunately, she didn’t and the store could not sell her any.
When Mrs Leadbetter heard what had happened, she in turn was refused a purchase because she might be buying the cigarettes for the carer, whose age could not be verified.
Mrs Leadbetter told the Weekly News: “My carer was wearing her uniform, and you cannot be employed for that job unless you are aged 18.
“I called for the manager and explained the situation, but the store would not move.
“The frustrating thing is that I’d just bought some alcoholic drinks and taken them through check-out, yet now I was being refused cigarettes.
“I know they have to be careful, but I thought our situation would be different. I was not happy.”
The carer, who works for a Fleetwood-based agency, was not available for comment.
As Asda spokeswoman said: “Although it may seem a bit heavy-handed, we don’t blame our colleagues for being over-cautious. If they serve cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 the law says they will be held personally responsible and could be handed an on the spot fine.
“We support our colleagues to make the right decision using a common sense approach, and would like to remind customers if they intend to buy cigarettes to have a valid photo ID. We’d never intentionally upset a customer but we’re committed to selling cigarettes responsibly.”