Polish passport refused as valid ID at Aldi in Tewkesbury
WHEN Agata Dabek wanted to buy alcohol, she knew she would have to prove her age.
Aware that her youthful looks would raise questions, the 23-year-old had come armed with identification.
But she was stunned when bosses at supermarket Aldi in Tewkesbury Road refused to serve her – telling her that a Polish passport was not valid.
Agata, who came to Cheltenham from her native country seven years ago and speaks English fluently, said she was left embarrassed.
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Agata, of Dunalley Street, St Paul's, added: "They looked at my passport for approximately 20 seconds and then came over and a woman said she couldn't accept my ID.
"I asked if there was a problem and she said that she couldn't accept a Polish passport, only a British passport or a British driver's licence.
"I was shocked. I shopped regularly at the store during the last three or four years and, each time I had been asked for ID, I had always produced my passport. I appreciate shops need to follow this procedure by law if the person looks under 25. Never, on any of these previous occasions, had I been told that a Polish passport was unacceptable."
A spokesman for Aldi said: "The sale of alcohol was refused because the store staff were unable to confidently verify the shopper's age. The 'Challenge 25' policy is based on proving a shopper's age and does not discriminate in any way.
"On this occasion we accept that the shopper was wrongly refused the right to buy alcohol after producing identification. Unfortunately, due to staff not recognising the identification, they exerted a higher level of caution and were not confident in authorising a sale.
"We have since contacted the customer to apologise."
Andy Serkiz, a Polish interpreter, admitted integrating could be hit and miss. "There are two types of people coming to the UK from Poland," he said. "One type will speak fluent English and have a mix of friends from different nationalities. The other has a narrow circle of friends and will only speak in Polish. In that sense, the Polish community has never really integrated into the British society."