Tourette’s sufferer barred from supermarket

Tourette's sufferer David Hubbard was barred from Tesco Extra in St Helens
Tourette's sufferer David Hubbard was barred from Tesco Extra in St Helens
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Supermarket bosses have apologised to a Tourette’s sufferer from St Helens after a guard mistook his condition for drunken abuse.

David Hubbard was returning from watching his beloved Saints when he was stopped by security and told he was not welcome in the Tesco Extra store next to Langtree Park.

He was accused of being abusive towards staff and fellow shoppers during a previous visit - a charge David, 31, vehemently denied.

However, despite attempting to explain the nature of his condition - which causes involuntary verbal ticks and body movements - he was barred entry.

David, who volunteers with a Tourette’s support group, say the incident caused him a great deal of hurt and embarrassment.

After the St Helens Reporter contacted Tesco to highlight David’s treatment, the retail giant issued an apology and said the ban had been rescinded.

“I got stopped by a fairly big guard with a very red face, he was ranting about some issue he thought I was involved in two weeks before that date,” said David, who lives in St 
Helens town centre.

“He refused to give me his name or show CCTV footage he supposedly had showing what I had done. Since then I have not heard anything back from Tesco and frankly I am a bit scared to go back and worried this guard may still have a grudge against me.”

David, who also suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, says he regularly suffers abuse from strangers because of his condition but was shocked by his treatment at Tesco.

He added: “All my conditions have caused me this kind of issues before in pubs by bouncers, on public transport, in the street, and in certain shops. This is the first time I have actually had a chat to a guard and given the chance to leave store or be forced out.

“I did try to explain about my condition quite a few times but eventually I started to become light-headed and needing to exit.

“Tourette’s can often be mistaken for drinking and I did feel at some point my condition was making them more angry and sure I was guilty.

“The alleged incident happened the night Catalan Dragons were at Langtree at 11pm.

“But I have proof via Google tracking that I was tucked up in my flat from 8pm that night. I was not at Tesco or Langtree Park that day or night at all.”

Tesco spokesperson Mark Thomas said store bosses had conducted a full investigation of the incident and say David is welcome back in the store.

He added: “We apologise for any offence caused to Mr Hubbard. Our colleagues were not aware of his condition but have since carried out an investigation into the incident and offered Mr Hubbard a goodwill gesture and an apology.

“Our store manager, Glynn, would welcome Mr Hubbard to pop into our store any time if there is anything further he wishes to discuss.”