Bluewater security guard tries to kick out blind man with guide dog

<em>Angry shoppers confronted a security guard at Bluewater shopping centre after he turned a blind man away because he was with his guide dog (Picture: Ian West/PA)</em>
Angry shoppers confronted a security guard at Bluewater shopping centre after he turned a blind man away because he was with his guide dog (Picture: Ian West/PA)

A video of angry shoppers confronting a shopping centre security guard after he turned away a blind man because he was with his guide dog has gone viral.

The footage, posted on Facebook and shared thousands of times, shows shoppers arguing with the guard at Bluewater in Kent after he apparently turned the blind man away.

The video was shared by Pauline Letchford, who posted the footage with the caption: “Guard telling blind man and guide dog to leave bluewater disgusting.”


Mrs Letchford said a security guard told the man, who was with his wife, that they had to leave the centre and weren’t allowed a dog there.

When the couple explained that the man was blind and was allowed his guide dog with him, she said the guard “did not budge”, prompting fellow shoppers to step in.

<em>Video footage of the security guard telling the blind man to leave was posted online (Picture: Facebook/Pauine Letchford)</em>
Video footage of the security guard telling the blind man to leave was posted online (Picture: Facebook/Pauine Letchford)
<em>Shoppers stepped in to defend the man, who was with his guide dog (Picture: Facebook/Pauline Letchford)</em>
Shoppers stepped in to defend the man, who was with his guide dog (Picture: Facebook/Pauline Letchford)

In the video one shopper can be heard saying “you do know they’re allowed everywhere?” while a another says: “You’re having a laugh, aren’t ya?”

Bluewater has reportedly apologised “unreservedly” for the error and said assistance dogs are welcome at the centre.

They said the security team had undergone “urgent re-training” to avoid similar situations in the future.

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Guide Dogs later named the man involved as 28-year-old Alex Pepper, who stars in their new TV advert which aims to encourage better understanding when it comes to people with sight loss.

Alex, who worked for the Met Police for four-and-a-half years, has suffered with sight loss since birth, having one eye removed at the age of 14 months after developing retinoblastoma (cancer).

Guide Dogs said: “We have been speaking to Alex and his fiancé since this incident took place at the weekend.

“Sadly this is not a one-off event. In our new ‘By My Side’ report, six in ten people with sight loss told us that society has little understanding of the challenges they face every day.

“Alex Pepper is actually in our new TV advert which aims to encourage better understanding. It is a sad reflection that on the very day the advert launched, he was subject to the kind of discrimination he is trying to combat.

“We would be very pleased to work with Bluewater to help train staff through our My Guide service. Members of the public can also help by visiting our website and finding out more about My Guide and other services”.

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