Great-grandmother buying porridge ordered to remove her hood in the interests of security

A 69-year-old great-grandmother was ordered to take her hood down in a corner shop – in the interests of security. Barbara Francis, of  Ashton, near Preston, Lancashire, was in Tesco Express when she was told by a member of staff that she must take down the fur-lined hood of her yellow parka. Barbara, who had called into the shop to buy a packet of porridge, said: “It was pouring down outside so I had my big yellow jacket with a hood and fur on.

“I had just bobbed in for one item so I didn’t bother taking my hood down. I was in the aisle when someone came up and said, ‘Excuse me’. I thought maybe I had dropped something. I turned around and a man asked me to remove my hood. I asked him what for. He said it was company policy. I was livid, fuming. But I was upset as well. I asked if he was joking and he said he wasn’t. I told him to look at me. I’m a 69-year-old pensioner. Would I be a danger?”

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. Barbara, who has two grandchildren and a seven-month-old great-granddaughter, said: “I just walked off. I told him I wasn’t shopping there anymore. I only went in for some Quaker Oats and needless to say I came out without them. I was so annoyed and angry. If it wasn’t raining so hard outside then my hood wouldn’t have been up.

“If I was going for a proper shop I would have taken my hood down but I only popped in for one item. 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.” A spokesman for Tesco 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 common sense approach to this request, and use discretion in deciding whether to enforce it.”