Mum 'humiliated' after Next staff call police and accuse her of shoplifting

Gina Stevenson

Gina Stevenson, from Gorleston, pictured with her four-year-old son Blake, has asked for an apology from Next after she was accused of shoplifting at the Gapton Hall branch in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Submitted

A heavily-pregnant mother has hit out at staff at a Great Yarmouth store who called police and accused her of shoplifting.

Mother-of-two Gina Stevenson, from Gorleston, said she was left "humiliated" as police searched through their shopping and checked their receipt at the Gapton Hall branch of Next in Great Yarmouth.

She had visited the store with her partner, her 13-year-old son and her four-year-old Blake, who has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, global development delay with regression and hypermobility.

Gina Stevenson, from Gorleston, with her sons and partner.

Gina Stevenson, from Gorleston, with her sons and partner. - Credit: Submitted

She said: "I was grabbing some uniform bits for my children and my youngest wasn't happy about it. He was trying to swipe items from the shelves onto the floor.

"I knew we were going to have to be quick before we entered a full meltdown and I put the bits we were buying underneath the pushchair as we continued shopping.

"My partner Dave took Blake and the pushchair to the till, paid for the items then met us upstairs at Costa."

The couple were then approached by a police officer who, Ms Stevenson said, searched the shopping and apologised.

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She said: "Not once did a member of staff approach us when I was shopping or when we paid and we haven't had a single apology from them.

"They could have come up to us and asked if they could take the items to the till.

"We were fuming and and thoroughly humiliated. We spoke to the manager who was rude and gave us a number for complaints, but it wasn't even the right number.

"I'm seven-months pregnant and at risk of preeclampsia, Blake has additional needs and my in-laws are on crutches and a walking stick. If we were shoplifting, which we would never do, we weren't getting away very fast.

"Dave also found a bank card on the floor and handed into the manager, so we could have even used that if we were on the wrong side of the law."

Miss Stevenson said was was told by the officer staff believed she had been using the pushchair as a decoy, adding: "At four, my son is too big for a pushchair, but we are waiting for a wheelchair to be delivered for him."

Next has been contacted for comment.