THE father of an eight-year-old disabled boy was told he could not enter a shop because the boy’s disability vehicle was too big.

Andrew Ashbridge had taken his profoundly autistic son Jack shopping to the Greyhound Retail Park in Chester to visit the Golf Depot USA store.

Jack, a pupil at Stanley School in Thingwall, has severe mobility problems and has to be transported in a special needs buggy which is larger and wider than a normal pushchair and is specially designed for carrying older children.

But as they went into the golf shop a staff member told them: “You can’t bring that in here - Sunday is our busiest day.”

Mr Ashbridge, 36, from Greasby, explained that his son needed the pushchair - and also said he would otherwise have to carry his son, who weighs four stone.

“His response was far from sympathetic and he said I could always wait outside until the shop emptied, and then we could come in,” he said.

“I was furious. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This is the first thing anything’s ever happened like this.

“There is no way I could take Jack into a shop without him being restrained in the pushchair, as he would grab things of the shelves or run around the shop, and as he has no sense of danger he would just run outside in front of cars.

“Technically, Jack can walk, but his behavioural difficulties are so profound that he needs to be restrained in public places.”

Mum Catherine added: “Jack has to have a specially adapted buggy because of his condition. He finds crowds very distressing and the pushchair is like a comfort blanket to him.”

Mr Ashbridge said: “I was so annoyed that I went back to the car, put the pushchair away and carried Jack into the store. I could only stay a couple of minutes as Jack is so heavy. But I did it because I felt that it was important to make a point.

“I didn’t make eye contact with any of the staff and neither did anyone offer any help or say anything further to me.”

A spokesman for Golf Depot USA said: “We are a family-friendly shop and we do not discriminate.

“Our aisles are wide enough to take a wheelchair and we have double door access. But when it is busy we do ask people to park up near the doors as it is only a small unit and space is an issue, especially when it’s busy.

“All that I can think was that whoever was in charge that day made a comment in the heat of the moment, when the shop was busy and perhaps did not realise that the boy was disabled.”