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Family anger as brain-damaged granddad mistaken for shoplifter

West View man Carl Price, who suffers from brain damage, says he was asked to leave Morrisons supermarket in Hartlepool. Carl's mum Cynthia Holland believes her son is targetted because he looks like a shoplifter or drug user.

West View man Carl Price, who suffers from brain damage, says he was asked to leave Morrisons supermarket in Hartlepool. Carl's mum Cynthia Holland believes her son is targetted because he looks like a shoplifter or drug user.

“Leave me alone”

A BRAIN-DAMAGED granddad was left embarrassed and humiliated in front of shoppers after a security guard said he looked like a shoplifter in a case of “mistaken identity”.

Carl Price was left with speech problems, difficulty walking and a change in his appearance after a serious bike accident 23 years ago.

To compound his problems, he is constantly dealing with stares and comments and is even mocked in the street – treatment which means he now rarely leaves l Turn to Page 5

his home.

But on Monday the 44-year-old faced further ridicule after a shopper at Morrisons supermarket believed he was acting suspiciously and alerted a security guard who targeted him in the store.

He was quizzed in the aisle before a manager intervened after realising it was a case of “mistaken identity”.

Store bosses today apologised for the blunder as Carl’s family issued a desperate plea for a greater understanding of his disability.

And Carl himself said: “I just want people to leave me alone.”

The Morrisons episode left Mr Price - who suffers with depression - upset and his angry family got in touch with the Mail to illustrate that this is not an isolated incident.

Mum Cynthia Holland said there have also been problems in the town centre in the past, at the Marina and also when he has been walking down the street.

The 64-year-old, of Throston Grange, said: “This has to stop, it is making his life a misery.

“He has had problems in the supermarket and in the shops before. He is only thin and because he has problems with his side and speech problems I think people mistake him for a druggie or someone up to no good.

“Carl doesn’t get out much but is still quite independent and likes to pop into the shops now and again but he seems to have problems wherever he goes.

“It is not fair, it is upsetting him and it is upsetting for the rest of the family.

“People can be so cruel and rotten but he has enough on his plate without this additional pressure.”

Cynthia, who is married to Guy Holland, a 53-year-old lorry driver, added: “He is a lovely lad who loves his family.”

Carl, who is registered disabled and lives in the West View area of town, used to work on various job schemes before his motorbike accident when he was just 21.

He is dad to Kelly Price, 25, and 17-year-old Amy McKenzie.

He said: “I just try and go about my everyday life as normal but these things keep happening to me.

“I just want people to leave me alone.

“It is affecting my self-confidence and I end up staying inside the house a lot.”

His family say he is supposed to carry a card around with him to help explain to people that he suffers from brain damage but he sometimes forgets.

Worried daughter Kelly, who lives in Jutland Road with children Lexie Jeffries, three and six-year-old Bailey Jeffries, said: “My dad phoned me after leaving Morrisons and he was really upset.

“This wasn’t an isolated incident either, there have been incidents in the town centre in the past and when he has been walking down the street as well.

“My dad suffers with depression as it is, and these people are making that worse.

“This is happening all the time and we are just pleading with people to leave my dad alone.

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and it is the same with people.”

A Morrisons spokeswoman said: “Mr Price was mistakenly identified as someone previously barred from the store for shoplifting.

“The deputy manager immediately realised the colleague’s mistake and intervened.

“He apologised to Mr Price who was able to carry on and complete his shop.”

 

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