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Sainsbury’s ban Liverpool mum for life for using wrong Nectar card

November 23, 2010

A Liverpool Nectar card user, who was subjected to a fraud arrest ordeal, claims she was the innocent victim of Sainsbury’s supermarket checkout blunder.

Mother-of-two Christine Turton was locked in a police cell on suspicion of falsly using an Nectar card that belonged to someone else.

Care worker Christine, 48, had fingerprints and DNA samples taken and even underwent a drugs test, as she was interrogated by detectives.

But angry Christine believes the nightmare happened simply because she was accidentally handed the wrong Nectar card at the till.

Christine used the card, without realising the mix-up, and was identified via CCTV cameras at a supermarket on Merseyside, at the person using a “stolen” Nectar card.

After being detained at her home. Christine was quizzed for a total of seven hours before being released on police bail.

She then spent weeks worrying she could be wrongly charged with fraud before police ruled she had no case to answer.

But after Merseyside Police accepted her story of the mix-up supermarket chiefs have refused to lift decison to ban her from every branch of Sainsbury’s in the UK.

Angry Christine is now determined to clear her name and is appealing against the ban by Sainsbury’s.

Christine, who lives in a neat three-bedroomed semi-detached house in Crosby, Merseyside, says she unknowingly using a Nectar card reported “lost” by and elderly man.

Christine said: “Apparently they used CCTV to track me down after the person reported a card lost or stolen.

“I would never use someone else’s Nectar card. It’s preposterous. I would have nothing to gain.

“I loaded points onto the card and took them off. I wasn’t trying to defaud anyone.

“It must have been a mistake at the check-out weeks earlier. Like everyone else I didn’t check the back of the card for the signature.

“It was just in my purse and I would hand it over to the check-out operators to get it swiped by the scanner.

“All the cards look the same and I can understand that a mistake was made, but to have me arrested over it was just ridiculous.

“I was treated like a common criminal. It was a terribly frightening and something that I would not wish on anyone.

“I’ve been a loyal customer of Sainsbury’s for two decades and think I’m owed an apology.

“But instead of that they’ve banned me from every store in Britain and now I have to go through an appeal process to get allowed back in.

“I’m not prepared to let them blacken my name so I want them to overturn this unjustified ban.

“After all this I’m not sure I ever want to shop at Sainsbury’s ever again.

“I just want to go in there one last time with my head held high to prove the point.

“I’m not going to have them tarnish my good name because of their stupid mistake.”

Added Christine: “I have never been in trouble with the law before and I never expected I would see the inside of a police cell.

“Even though I know I was innocent it was an horrendous ordeal. You hear such terrible stories about miscarriages of justice and I was frightened that it could happen to me.

“Even now, weeks after I was arrested I feel like breaking down in tears every time I think about it.

“When the police knocked on the door and said they were arresting me for fraudulent use of a Nectar card, I thought it was some kind of joke at first.

“But it soon became clear that they were deady serious.”

Christine, has shopped at the Sainsbury’s supermarket in Liverpool Road, Crosby, since it first opened more than 20 years ago.

According to Merseyside Police, the owner of the Nectar card, which had several hundred pounds worth of points on it, is a 73-year-old local man who reported it stolen.

Acting Chief Inspector Neil Turner said: “This lady was arrested following a genuine complaint by an elderly member of the public about an alleged theft of their supermarket points card.

“She was only arrested following extensive checks with the supermarket who identified her as a regular customer.

“She cooperated fully with the arresting officer and, after giving her explanation for what she thought had happened, was immediately released to allow the officer to continue with his enquiries.

“As soon as he was satisfied that she had not knowingly used a card which did not belong to her, he contacted her to advise her that no further police action would be taken and we also put that assurance in writing.

“We have also been in touch with the man who made the allegation and the store manager to advise them of the outcome.

“At at the end of the day theft is theft, whether is hundreds of pounds in cash or hundreds of pounds-worth of points and we were duty-bound to investigate this properly, as we did.”

The care worker has appealed to be allowed back in the store but the supermarket are standing firm on their decision.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We never take this kind of action lightly. We have looked into the case and we stand by our decision.”

Nectar have declared that as the matter had been dealt with by the supermarket there was nothing further to add.