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Blind student refused service in Tesco for taking in guide dog

A woman has been kicked out of a Tesco store for bringing in her guide dog. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

A blind student was reduced to tears when she was refused service in a Tesco store for taking in her guide dog. Maya Makri, 39, was “horrified” on Monday when a cashier at a Tesco store in Swiss Cottage, London, told her that “pets are not allowed”.

Makri says staff refused to acknowledge that her black Labrador Jemma was not a pet, despite the fact she was wearing a fluorescent high-viz jacket and harness labelled “guide dog”.

Makri told the Evening Standard: “I pointed out that this was no pet, but a guide dog. This should have been immediately obvious from the dog’s high-viz harness and fluorescent guide dog label on the lead.

“I repeatedly said that I was registered blind and that this was a trained assistance dog, to no avail. Various customers tried to back me up, but we were shouted down. I burst into tears outside the store in sheer frustration.”

Makri says that initially she was contacted by customer services at Tesco and offered a £20 voucher.

A spokesperson for Tesco has said: “We do allow guide dogs in stores and have reminded colleagues of that. We also offer customers with guide dogs help with their shopping, if they would like assistance.”

The news comes after hundreds of protesters staged a mass kiss-in in the aisles of a Sainsbury’s store in Brighton on Wednesday. Two gay women had been threatened with ejection and told that a customer found them “disgusting” when they shared a brief kiss.

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Annabelle Paige, 22, an English literature student at the University of Sussex has said she was “deeply hurt and upset” when a security guard asked her and her female partner to stop kissing or leave the supermarket.

Sainsbury’s apologised for the incident, by saying “it is clear that Miss Paige and her partner were not behaving inappropriately and we are very sorry that they were treated in this way.”

Last month Sports Direct was also criticised, when a security guard allegedly barred a group of 11-year-old Jewish schoolboys from entering the store by saying “no Jews, no Jews”. The security guard at the store in Borehamwood in Hertfordshire has been sacked and will be the subject of an investigation.

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