A PENSIONER said she was left humiliated when Marks and Spencer cafe staff called security while she was eating a biscuit she’d bought in the store.
Thelma Williams, 86, of Sudell, Darwen, said she was told that she had ‘got to put it away now’ by a staff member in the cafe at the Blackburn town centre store.
A guard was then called because she had tucked into the 39p cookie.
Thelma, who had been out with her daughter Deborah Nairn, 50, and grandsons David, 14, and Callum Nairn, 11, said she had been left extremely distressed by the incident, which was witnessed by other customers in the cafe.
At the time her family were treating her to a day out, including a trip to the cinema to see Nanny McPhee.
She said they had gone to the store at around 1pm before the 2.50pm showing of the film.
Thelma had bought a scone and biscuit from the food section of the store and her daughter treated them to lunch in the cafe.
After a toasted sandwich Thelma, decided not to have a cake but would eat her biscuit, which she had been saving for her tea.
But as soon as she bit into it a member of staff marched over to her and told her she could not eat the product due to the VAT difference on cafe-bought and shop-bought food.
She said they then called security.
Thelma said: “The security guard was being stupid, he was stern.
"The staff member said that she would take further action.
“I thought it was petty and ridiculous. I realise they have rules to stick to but it was so silly, I felt stupid. They made me feel like I had committed a crime.
“It was just one biscuit that I had bought from the shop downstairs. I didn’t know I was going to eat it.
“The situation was crazy, I would have paid the extra 10p for sitting in the chair to eat it.
“All the customers were looking at me, it was so embarrassing and very distressing. I couldn’t sleep that night.
“If someone even more vulnerable than me was faced with this situation it would have been even more distressing for them.”
A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer refused to comment on Mrs Williams' comments and would only say: “Marks and Spencer policy is that Marks and Spencer cafe customers must only consume items bought within the cafe area.”
Sudell councillor Roy Davies branded the store’s actions ‘absolutely disgusting’.
He said: “Marks and Spencer have recently announced substantial profits and you would have thought with the good quality reputation they have, something like this just couldn’t happen.
“To be quite honest it’s ridiculous and the lady should receive an apology - and a free packet of biscuits.
“This wants taking up with Marks and Spencer and I’d be more than happy to help.”