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Student bus loads too much for store

PUBLISHED: 07:01 16 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

A coach company that ferries farm-workers claims they were barred from shopping at a Tesco store because it could not cope with a large influx of people.

A coach company that ferries farm-workers claims they were barred from shopping at a Tesco store because it could not cope with a large influx of people.

Two buses full of foreign students were turned away from the supermarket at Cromwell Road, Wisbech, when they tried to carry out their weekly shop late at night.

Joanne Walton, a director of Towlers Coaches of nearby Emneth, said the company

took two double-decker buses

full of workers from Upwell to

the Tesco store Wisbech every week.

But the intervention by Tesco staff on Tuesday meant the group had no choice but to return to their caravans without any food.

“The problem started some weeks ago,” she said. “We were told the coaches could not park near the store and then there were complaints that trolleys were not being taken back.

“We don't have any complaints with the students. They don't speak much English but they are fine and very well behaved.”

She said that after the initial problems, the bus driver suggested the students shop in small groups instead, but Tesco asked all of them to leave after what it said were complaints by customers.

A Tesco spokesman said: “Under no circumstances did we intend to give the impression that we would refuse any customers.

“Due to the large numbers arriving at the store late in the evening without warning we did not feel able to serve our customers properly.

“The store has made plans to meet with the local growers so that arrangements can be made to schedule shopping visits ahead of time.

“That way, preparations can be made to ensure staffing and stock levels are adequate so that customers receive a great Tesco shopping experience.”

The next day, the students were taken to do their shopping at ASDA in Wisbech, where in contrast to the reception received at Tesco, store manager Gary Fitzjohn said they would be made very welcome.

“I think it is an absolutely crazy decision by Tesco,” he said. “We don't discriminate against anyone here and I think it is just bizarre - but their loss is our gain.”


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