Anger as teen is wrongly accused of store theft

NRHNBE110705d1, Gary Bannister and son Jamie, Station road Langley Mill.
NRHNBE110705d1, Gary Bannister and son Jamie, Station road Langley Mill.

A LANGLEY Mill businessman has told of his anger after his son was wrongly accused of stealing from an Asda supermarket.

Dad Gary Bannister was stopped by a security guard at the check-out at the Langley Mill store on Saturday morning, July 2, and told that his 19-year-old son Jamie was banned from the store for leaving the premises without paying a £10.90 bill on June 28.

When a shocked Mr Bannister demanded proof, an inspection of the CCTV tape revealed that Jamie had in fact paid in full, but the self-service machine had rejected his cash, which was pocketed by the next customer.

Gary, 51, who employs Jamie at his tyre-fitting business on Station Road, Langley Mill, said: “I was shocked and upset. I knew that this was totally out of character and couldn’t have happened.

“I feel enraged that my son has been called a common thief. This could have caused untold damage to our relationship.

“They shouldn’t have approached me where the check-out girl and anybody walking by could hear the conversation. They should have approached Jamie. It’s a disgrace.

“Me and my wife were gutted. My wife Carol is battling cancer. It has been very stressful – she has had chemotherapy and radiotherapy since she was diagnosed last August.

“It has been convenient for me to leave Jamie to run the shop. He wouldn’t do anybody down. He is a nice, genuine youth and gets a lot of respect off customers.”

Jamie said: “I go in Asda all the time. It came to £10.90 – I just chucked my money in – not bothering about a receipt or change. It made me sick. It’s one of the worst things you can be called – a thief.

“At first my dad offered to pay – he thought it was a mistake. But they said ‘No he’s banned’.

“If my dad had not pursued it and got them to go further it could have caused family friction. They should have checked it further and not jumped to conclusions. Its our reputation.”

Gary added: “Gossip and false accusation don’t go down well in a small community. I have traded in Langley Mill for 16 years. I am well known. I have got relations who work in Asda. As though my lad would go in and thieve.”

A spokesman for Asda said: “This is not the normal process we would follow and have rebriefed all colleagues concerned. We apologise to the Bannister family for any upset caused.”

The store offered Gary and his family a £40 gift voucher and a bunch of flowers by way of apology.

But Gary says he has written a formal complaint to the supermarket giant’s head office in Leeds.