Great-grandmother, 69, ordered to remove her hood at Tesco by staff "who feared she was a robber"

Great-grandmother, 69, ordered to remove her hood at Tesco by staff 'who feared she was a robber'
Barbara Francis had hood of her parka coat up because it was rainingTesco Express assistant asked her to remove hood for 'safety reasons'Preston store said it had acted after concerns about robberies by yobs

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UPDATED:

11:16 GMT, 18 December 2012

A great-grandmother was ordered to take off her hood in a Tesco supermarket after staff feared she may be a robber.

Barbara Francis, 69, had her fur lined hood of her yellow parka coat up because it was raining heavily outside.

But when she dashed into Tesco Express near her home in Preston, Lancashire to buy a packet of porridge, a jobsworth assistant told her to remove the hood for 'safety reasons'.

Barbara Francis, pictured, from Preston was told to take her hood down in a Tesco Express store for 'security reasons' by a jobsworth assistant

Barbara Francis, pictured, from Preston was told to take her hood down in a Tesco Express store for 'security reasons' by a jobsworth assistant

The store said it had acted after concerns about robberies by yobs who used their hoodies to disguise themselves.

But
Mrs Francis, a ballroom dancer, said: 'I just couldn't believe my ears that I was being treated like some common criminal.

'It was plain to everyone that I put up my hood in the rain because I
didn't want my hair to get wet but this man had only company policy on
his mind.

'I told the man to look at me. I'm a 69-year-old
pensioner. Would I be a danger I was livid, fuming – but I was upset as
well.

'I asked if he was joking and he said he wasn't.'

A 69-year-old great-grandmother, pictured, was ordered to take her hood down in a Tesco store because staff feared she could be a robber

A 69-year-old great-grandmother, pictured, was ordered to take her hood down in a Tesco store because staff feared she could be a robber

Mrs Francis had popped out for some
Quaker porridge oats for her labourer husband, Bernard, 60, who fancied a
bowl to warm him up as it was a cold day.

She said: 'It was pouring down outside so I had my big yellow jacket
with a hood and fur on. It was a dreadful day and my husband said he
really fancied a hot bowl of porridge, so I nipped out to Tesco to get
some.

'I just decided to walk the 10 minutes to Tesco Express. It was pelting
with rain and since I was just bobbing in for one item, I didn't even
think about taking my hood down – if I was doing a big shop, then
naturally I would have taken it down.

'But as I was looking around the shelves I heard a voice which said, “Excuse me”, he must have said it a couple of times before I realised he
was talking to me.

'But when I turned around, I got the shock of my life when he asked me
to remove my hood. I asked him what for and he said it was company
policy.'

Mrs Francis, a retired office clerk
who has two grandchildren and a seven-month-old great-granddaughter, and
has just battled breast cancer for a third time, added: 'I just walked
off. I told him i wasn't shopping there any more.

'I only went in for some Quaker oats and needless to say i came out without them. I was so annoyed and angry.

'I can understand when you go into a bank and people have to remove their helmets but they got this completely wrong.

'The way I was dressed should have told him i was an older lady.'

Tesco
says it does not have a company policy on the removing of hoods and
helmets but relies on the discretion of managers at individual stores.

It is understood staff were being cautious after a recent robbery at a nearby Co-op.

A
spokesman said: 'The safety of our colleagues and customers is a
priority for Tesco, which is why in some stores customers are asked to
remove their hats and hoods whilst in the store.

'However, we try to take a commonsense approach to this request, and use discretion in deciding whether to enforce it.'