A BURNLEY student has been left shocked, angry and upset after he was refused entry to a town centre store because of his disability.
Bradley Johnson (18) who has been confined to a wheelchair since he was knocked down by a car in Rosegrove 12 years ago, had gone with two friends to buy some new clothes from River Island, in the Charter Walk shopping centre, on Sunday afternoon.
As the men’s department is on the first floor he asked staff to open alternative doors, which are usually locked, so he could get into the shop but was told this was not possible, even though he said he has seen the doors open on other occasions.
“They gave me a straight no,” said Bradley, who is studying business studies at Burnley College.
“They didn’t try and reason with me or offer to bring some clothes down for me to have a look at.
“I’m not pleased about it at all. It’s not really equal rights. I just wanted some new clothes. There’s not really any other shops in Burnley selling clothes that I wear. ”
Angered by the store’s reaction Bradley’s brother Justin Reynolds left a message on the River Island website and they have received an apology, but the former Fishermore School pupil, who lives in Ightenhill, said he would like to see wheelchair access improved.
“Next time I go into a shop I want them to be more accommodating to wheelchair users. On the River Island website it says they support a disabled charity but they are contradicting themselves.
“The Paralympics has been really positive for disabled people and then things like this are still happening.
“I want to raise awareness for people in wheelchairs, I have lots of friends in wheelchairs and one of them said he has had similar problems in shops. People in wheelchairs deserve the same rights as anyone else.
“When I was younger my mum used to do a lot of my shopping but now I’m getting older I’m doing my own and realising how difficult it is in some of these shops.”
A River Island spokeswoman said: “River Island in Burnley is sorry for the misunderstanding that arose regarding access for a wheelchair customer. We would like to invite the customer back to the store and offer a shopping voucher to try and make up for the confusion.”