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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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On Friday 19 June 2015 I was apprehended outside my local waitrose

Customer Question

On Friday 19 June 2015 I was apprehended outside my local waitrose shop and asked for a receipt for the goods I had in my bag. I clearly didn't have one and was asked to go back into the store where I was questioned and told that, on this occasion, the police would not be involved and no prosecution made. However, I was given a "banning letter" (their words) which precludes me from ever shopping in any waitrose store ever again. If I do the police may be called to exit me from whichever store. I do understand that I did something wrong, but I have no recollection of what I put in my shopping bag or why I did it. I do remember some wine, some "rescue flowers" and two bananas, but other than that, it's a blur.
I know I am not well at the moment, and haven't been for maybe 2/3 years. I lost my beloved mum to alzheimers and then was made redundant from a fill time job I had loved for 23 years (at very short notice) and since then have worked voluntarily down at my local hospice. I think I had some sort of mental breakdown between losing mum, my job and trying to pick the pieces of my life up again. I spend between £200 and £400 per month at my local waitrose store. I simply can't remember what was in my shopping basket other than those things I've already told you about. I didn't need anything as I am going away on Monday 22 June on holiday.
My question is this - can they actually ban me from ever shopping waitrose stores again? I asked whether I could shop at ***** ***** or Waitrose/Ocado online and, of course, the answer (with a grin on the manager's face) was of course I could. So they decided not to prosecute me, but they have still branded me a shoplifter (I've never done anything like this in my life before - I am 59 years old) but they are still willing to take my money online. I am devastated by the whole thing and the two true friends in whom I have confided (and my husband also) are at a loss as this is absolutely not in my nature. Any advice you can give me will be much appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today.
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Do you have a clean record i.e. No previous convictions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

absolutely none whatsoever. I had to be CRB cleared whilst in my 23 year employment and also for my charitable volunteer work at the hospice. I have a completely clear record. I would say that I found out 3 days ago that a very close friend has been diagnosed with brain cancer and it's terminal. I think that was the last straw.

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
The company has the right to ban from its stores any person who it suspects has committed theft. An arrest or prosecution is not required for this right to be invoked - in fact mere suspicion of theft is enough. The ban across its stores is a method used white often especially where there is insufficient evidence to prosecuted or a conviction is unlikely even though there is some evidence of wrongdoing. What this unfortunately means for you is that until the ban is withdrawn you will not be able to enter their stores. Entry in contravention of the ban is not necessarily a crime but the company could take civil action and eject you from the premises. I appreciate this is not good news and there is clearly a lot going on at the moment - but to answer you question: Waitrose does have the right to ban you if it so chooses. If you are unhappy with this decison your next step should be to contact Head Office and without admitting any wrong doing ask them with withdraw the ban. If you do not do this and shop at another store the chances are you won't be stopped (these things are not very well monitored).