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Wheelchair-user refused toilet access

PUBLISHED: 12:19 02 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:19 02 October 2015

Para show jumper Susi Rogers-Hartley from Wiggenhall St Mary, had problems with a Shell garage near Wisbech. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Para show jumper Susi Rogers-Hartley from Wiggenhall St Mary, had problems with a Shell garage near Wisbech. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

A company has apologised after British para rider Susi Rogers-Hartley was refused access to toilet facilities at a garage near Wisbech during the early hours of the morning.

Ms Susi Rogers-Hartley, who is the face of the Lloyds bank advertising campaign, resorted to ‘spending a penny’ on the forecourt of a Shell service station because she was so desperate for the loo.

“I am still pretty angry about what happened,” she said.

Shell says it is now investigating the incident, which happened at its petrol station on the A47 at West Walton near Wisbech. The company has since offered Ms Rogers-Hartley complimentary fuel vouchers for the distressed caused.

She had an early start on September 17 to get to the Blenheim Horse Trials in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, from her home in Wiggenhall St Mary, near King’s Lynn. The three-and-a-half hour journey with her horse was meticulously planned with scheduled comfort breaks along the way.

Ms Rogers Hartley said: “I pulled into the petrol station for diesel and the shop area was closed.

“When I went to pay, my wheelchair wouldn’t get up the kerb and I couldn’t reach the window to hand my credit card over.

She added: “The attendant wasn’t happy that I couldn’t pay - but what could I do?

“I had to threaten to leave without paying before she opened the shop and ran my card through the machine. Then I asked to use the facilities as the shop was open anyway - and I was refused.”

When Ms Rogers Hartley said she would go outside instead, the attendant told her there was CCTV.

“So I made sure I did my business in front of the cameras,” she added.

A Shell spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the distress this incident caused Ms Rogers-Hartley.

“For the security and safety of staff, Shell has a late evening closed door policy across some of its company-owned network.

“We are investigating this incident and will look carefully at whether improvements can be made to our procedures.”

Which businesses offer the best disabled facilities? Tell our reporter louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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