Watch: Banbury shop owner's business hit by bogus social media claim

A Banbury convenience store owner is trying to re-establish his reputation after a social media post, seen by hundreds, wrongly accused him of refusing to serve a diabetic customer as she had a dog - a claim CCTV footage definitively contradicts.

Friday, 17th January 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 3:14 pm

At around 2pm on Wednesday, January 8 , a female customer walked into Banbury Convenience Store at the top of Parson's Street. She had with her a black and white medium sized dog.

Owner of the store Shantah Padukkage told the lady that dogs were not allowed, but she explained she was diabetic and just wanted to buy a chocolate bar. Shantah can then be clearly seen taking money from the customer as she purchases a large chocolate bar and leaves with her dog.

Later that same day, however, Shantah, who does not have a Facebook account, learned via a friend that a post had been published to Banburyshire Info stating the complete opposite.

Shantah, talking to two men in the store before serving the female customer

In part the post, written by the customer's partner, said: "To the Daily Mail convenience store by the Thai Orchid, today my girlfriend came into your empty store with seriously low blood sugar (type 1 diabetes) after walking the dog.

"I know she had a dog with her but after trying to explain to you she needed chocolate urgently you said 'get out, get out'.

"All it took was some extra effort to help her.

"She had to walk to my work at risk of a seizure any minute all because you couldn't find it in you to help."

The customer, with her dog, can be seen holding a chocolate bar

In store CCTV, seen by the BG and covered by three cameras, however, shows a very different interaction.

The customer and her dog walk in to a store, at this point Shantah says that he did tell her 'no dogs allowed' as it is a health and safety requirement. The store was also not empty having two other customers in the back of the store who have agreed to verify the incident, as described on Banburyshire Info, did not occur.

The 27 second transaction then proceeds without fuss, hassle and with the customer leaving with a large bar of chocolate.

Shantah said: "She walks in and all I said was 'dogs are not allowed'. Then she was telling me she was diabetic and she wanted the chocolate desperately. I didn't say anything she give the chocolate, you can see for yourself on CCTV, I take the money nicely and she has the chocolate.

Shantah takes the money for the chocolate, visible on the counter by the customers hand

"How long did that take? Not even one minute.

He added: "I've got no issues with dogs, I'm have dogs, it's a health thing."

Shantah contacted Banburyshire Info administrator on January 9 to try and get it removed and offered to show the pages owner, Ian Gentles, the CCTV footage.

The online post, however, is still visible, although comments have been turned off, and has generated almost 140, some aggressively nasty, comments, been shared 40 times and within days had had a negative effect on Shantah's business and reputation.

"I have no words, the reception I've had has been horrendous."

Shantah may seek legal advice but his preferred solution would be a public apology.

"That person has to come out and do a public apology, it was wrong, they done it wrong. It's not true. You've seen the truth," he said.

Banburyshire Info administrator Ian Gentles and the customers partner who posted the original online post have been contacted for their response.