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Sainsbury’s bars British ski champion and guide dog from store

John Dickinson-Lilley, a blind Paralympian said that the way the store treated him was humiliating. The idea that in 2019 you can walk into a store and be so humiliated is simply outrageous.

Mr Dickinson-Lilley has spoken of how shaken and humiliated he was after he was denied access to the store because he had his guide dog with him. He tried to enter the shop in Holborn and was stopped by a security guard.

Because he had finished work and it was a nice day, Mr Dickinson-Lilley wanted to take his dog Brett for a walk. He decided to stop at Sainsburys and pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy in the good weather. Right after he had entered the store the guard approached him saying ‘no, no, no.’

On querying this, the guard said that no dogs were allowed in the store. When he asked for the manager Mr Dickinson-Lilley was refused. Eventually a supervisor apologised to him.

His complaint on Twitter brought a response from Sainsburys to say how sorry they were for the delay in responding to him. Having spoken to the security guard, Sainsbury’s said that the guard had ‘misread the situation.’ This has now been addressed so that it does not happen again.

Under the Equalities Act businesses are required to allow guide dogs onto the premises. However, Mr Dickinson-Lilley stated that this was the second time he had been denied entry into the same shop. He had also had a similar experience at another branch of Sainsburys in London.

Mr Dickinson-Lilley said that there is clearly something which is not working correctly in the store. They are aware of not being allowed to sell alcohol, razors and knives to children, yet they do not know that a guide dog is permitted to enter the shop. Disabled people are clearly not being prioritised.

Under a deal that runs until 2020, Sainsbury’s has sponsored the British Paralympic Team since 2012.

Mr Dickinson-Lilley stated that Sainsbury’s had made a ‘big thing’ of their involvement in the sport. For any company who does that, they should also realise that they are placing themselves in the front line and they need to be a leader in the field.

Mr Dickinson-Lilley concluded by saying that he intended on taking Sainsbury’s to court over the incident which left him feeling completely embarrassed and humiliated.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s stated that they had apologised for the error on their part and have reassured Mr Dickinson-Lilley that guide dogs are welcome in every branch store including petrol stations.

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