A shopper has claimed he was abused by a security guard at an Aldi store because he wasn’t wearing a face mask.

Henry Widdas, 46, who does not wear a mask for medical reasons, says he was asked to prove he was exempt by a guard at the Ewood store in Blackburn on the evening of March 4.

He said to the guard that under Government guidelines he did not need to provide proof of his exemption, before he claims the security guard told him “not to be a c**k”.

Mr Widdas, from Bonsall Street, Mill Hill, said: “I cannot stress enough that the Aldi staff themselves have been brilliant with me ever since the mask mandate came in and have always been respectful in asking if I wore a mask.

“But for the last week or so a guard, who I understand is employed by a separate company, has been in attendance at the entrance.

“On this occasion, he asked for my proof of exemption and I told him he had no right to do so before he abused me.

“I could not believe it and I asked for his name so I could make a complaint.

“He covered up his identity badge and claimed his name was John Roberts which I do not think was his real name.

“I reported the incident to two managers in the store and they appeared to be genuinely shocked.

“One of the managers spoke to the guard who claimed I swore at them which is completely untrue.”

Mr Widdas said the manager, who he had spoken to about the store’s policy on mask exemptions twice before, and would be taking up the issue with an area manager.

He continued: “Rather than being concerned for myself, I’m worried that the guard could intimidate others who are exempt.

“What if they have autism or a deeply private reason for being exempt?"

Government guidelines on mask exemptions state if you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering, you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this, and you do not need show an exemption card.

Some people, however, feel more comfortable carrying an exemption card or letter from a doctor.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We were sorry to hear of Mr Widdas’ experience at our Bolton Road Store.

“We have reminded colleagues that customers who are exempt from wearing face coverings do not need to provide proof.”