Pregnant mum horrified after 'being accused of using wheelchair of disabled son, 4, to shoplift' as Next staff call cops
A PREGNANT mum told how she was left "humiliated" after being accused of using her disabled son's wheelchair to shoplift at Next.
Gina Stevenson and her partner Dave said they had their shopping searched by a police officer who examined their receipt at a Next store in Great Yarmouth.
The pair were buying back-to-school essentials with Gina's son Blake, four, who has sensory processing disorder, global development delay with regression and hypermobility giving him the mental age of a two-year-old.
Blake – who still needs a pushchair due to his condition – was grabbing eye-level items and knocking them onto the floor as they walked around.
Gina was forced to put the items she picked up under the pushchair to avoid Blake's discomfort as she rushed through the shop.
Gina said store staff must have thought Blake was too old for the pushchair – which the family are using while they wait for his wheelchair to be delivered – and were using it as a "distraction".
She told the Sun: "I am still just feeling quite annoyed, we still haven't had an apology.
"Today they credited £60 into my bank account, which we said we didn't want. I feel like Next are not listening.
"It is not about the money. It is about the way we were treated."
The family went into the shop to collect some items Dave had ordered online.
While he was picking up his click and collect order, Gina took Blake and her eldest son Logan, 13, around the shop to get some school items.
"I tried a pair of shoes on my youngest which he didn't like. Sometimes things can become a bit overwhelming for him, such as trying on shoes", she added.
After Blake calmed down, Gina grabbed a few more items in the store.
"Blake was swiping items off the shelves. Not grabbing them, but he had his arm straight out and was knocking stuff off.
"I kept putting the clothes on the top of the buggie but Blake kept swiping them off. In the end I put them underneath.
"There were staff, it wasn't particularly busy. But no-one approached us offering help."
When Dave finished up with his collection, he took the pram to the till to buy the clothes, while Gina went to the in-store Costa Coffee with Logan.
Dave then came to join them in Costa when a policewoman walked over, she said.
Gina added: "We were approached by a police officer who said there was a disturbance.
"Blake was swiping stuff there but it wasn't a disturbance."
The officer combed through the items and checked them against the receipt.
"The officer said 'I'm so sorry, I can see everything has been paid for. Next thought you were using the pushchair as a distraction'.
"They took one look at us and just made a presumption.
"I won't be using Next any more. The way we were treated is disgusting."
Next have been approached for comment.
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