Somerfield refuses EU passports as ID

18 June, 2008

Somerfield has defended its decision to ban EU nationals from buying alcohol in its stores if their only proof of ID is a foreign passport.

A Brighton branch has stoked up local controversy after Belgian Katrien Rennemeier, 22, and Jessica Olsen, 24, from Denmark, were refused service when they tried to buy drink.

Somerfield apologised to the women but said it was acting responsibly.

“The company accepts three forms of ID for alcohol purchases: British passports, British driving licences and Citizen Cards,” it said in a statement.

“Anyone – regardless of nationality – can apply for a Citizen Card and application forms are freely available in our stores.”

It added: “Somerfield has not banned foreign youngsters from buying alcohol in its stores. As a local community retailer Somerfield takes its social responsibilities very seriously and has a strict code of practice for alcohol sales and staff training regarding the licensing laws.

“We accept that it must be frustrating for people who are legally entitled to purchase alcohol to be refused on the basis of unacceptable ID, but the rules regarding acceptable forms of ID are in place to help protect our store colleagues from mis-selling alcohol products to under-age youngsters."

Rennemeier said: “I understand there may be a drinking problem to deal with in British society but targeting foreigners living here is really not going to solve the issue. I am disgusted.”

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