Mobile home family stopped in Ikea gypsy clamp downFROM YOUR LOCAL GUARDIAN
BY HANNAH WILLIAMSON
Luke Massey visited the store, in Valley Park, with his girlfriend and her mother on Monday, June 4.
On entry to the car park the group, who were travelling in a small camper van, were flagged down by an Ikea parking attendant who asked whether they were gypsies.
Mr Massey 27, who lives in Streatham, said: "We were just aghast and my partner said 'What? Are you serious?'
"We argued with him there for about a minute before he said 'ok go on', it was like he was convinced we weren't gypsy so we could go on.
"I know this kind a camper van is slightly unusual, but it is not exclusively used by the travelling community."
After parking Mr Massey went to remonstrate with the attendant, who said they were not the only people he had stopped and questioned.
In a recording of the conversation, the attendant can be heard to say: "A lot of them are coming in similar cars. If you had said yes [to being a gypsy] I wouldn't have let you into the premises.
"We are stopping them because they are coming in and taking things of our loyal customers, that is why I'm here in the car park."
Mr Massey said: "We were honestly gob smacked. Even if they have had problems with travellers using their electricity supply or parking there at night it doesn't justify the racial profiling of customers at the front door.
"It is not acceptable, I'm disgusted."
Garry Deakin, store manager at Ikea Croydon, said: "Over recent months the travelling community in the Croydon area have been attempting to access the customer car park to set up their mobile homes, which not only has an impact on our customers’ shopping experience, but also poses a health and safety risk due to the build up of human and animal waste.
"After discussions with both the local traveller liaison officer and Croydon Council, Ikea Croydon implemented preventative procedures to secure the car park, including a security officer to patrol the entry to the car park to prevent the mobile homes entering the car park."