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Newham councillor accused of shoplifting receives apology from Morrisons

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 March 2017

Cllr Seyi Akiwowo

Cllr Seyi Akiwowo

Archant

A large supermarket chain has apologised to a councillor who was falsely accused of shoplifting by one of its employees.

Forest Gate North representative Seyi Akiwowo was leaving Morrisons in Stratford to check on her parking ticket when she was chased into the car park by the supermarket worker.

Cllr Akiwowo told the Recorder: “I saw this man running towards me and then he said, ‘I do not believe you have paid for these items’.

“I was completely shocked. He was so aggressive.”

The life-long Morrisons shopper, 25, said she had visited the customer service desk to claim store points after paying for her £40 goods at the till.

She then spent approximately five minutes at the exit doors waiting for her mother to finish shopping before remembering she needed to check on her car’s ticket and leaving the store.

Despite her protests of innocence, Ms Akiwowo said she was “walked back inside” the store after the employee stopped her, saying “he saw me walk from the tills out of the exit”.

The man then proceeded to rummage through the Newham educator’s bag.

The matter was eventually resolved by other Morrisons staff who confirmed Ms Akiwowo had paid for her items and had visited the customer service desk before leaving the store.

Former retail worker Ms Akiwowo said she believed the “embarrassing” incident on March 21 was linked to her skin colour and attire.

“He just saw a black person with a black hood walking out of the shop,” she said. “He did not even say sorry”.

The councillor has since made a formal complaint to Morrisons and has been acquitted of any wrongdoing.

A Morrisons spokeswoman said: “We have apologised and are making a donation to a charity of the customer’s choice.”

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