Sheffield mum humiliated by false shoplifting accusation

Nicola Howden and daughter Scarlett outside the Asda store at Chaucer road where she was wrongly accused of being a shoplifter who was banned from the store

Nicola Howden and daughter Scarlett outside the Asda store at Chaucer road where she was wrongly accused of being a shoplifter who was banned from the store

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A SHOCKED Sheffield mum was humiliated in front of customers at a Sheffield supermarket - when a security guard marched up and wrongly accused her of shoplifting.

Nicola Howden, aged 27, of Southey Hall Road, was paying at the self service checkout at Asda, on Chaucer Road, Parson Cross, with her five-year-old daughter Scarlet when she was approached.

Nicola said: “I was just putting the items through the till when a security guard came up and said ‘you’re barred’.

“She said I had been in the store with a pram and pinched babywear from the George clothing section.

“It was in front of all the other customers, which was humiliating and my daughter was frightened.”

Nicola, a full-time mum with an older son, Lewis, nine, protested her innocence and was allowed to leave.

She agreed to return and view CCTV of the shoplifting with a member of store management - who accepted she was not the thief.

Asda has apologised to Nicola. But she said: “If the store thought it was me, why didn’t they call the police?

“You can’t go around falsely accusing people in the middle of the shop in front of everyone.

“I used to go to the store every week and was even going to apply to work there.”

Asda accepted the case was a matter of ‘mistaken identity’ and that Nicola should have been taken to one side and spoken to.

Store manager Justin McCrae said: “Although instances of shoplifting in our store are tiny, we take them seriously and have a process in place for dealing with customers in a respectful way.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion we made a mistake.

“As soon as we realised Ms Howden wasn’t the person we needed to speak to, we made sure we apologised for the misunderstanding.

“Following the incident we have rebriefed our colleagues on how to approach customers and we apologise again.”