Page last updated at 10:02 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Apology after ID card is refused

Norman Eastwood
Norman Eastwood was told to drive 105 miles home to get his passport

A man has received an apology from the Home Office after his ID card was refused as he tried to board a ferry to Rotterdam.

Norman Eastwood, from Salford, and his wife Jeanette were planning to travel from Hull on P&O Ferries on Saturday.

The new ID card, introduced in Manchester, can be used instead of a passport across Europe - but the travel firm said it did not know this.

A Home Office spokesman said it "seems to be an isolated experience".

P&O ferries added that from now on ID cards will be accepted.

Mr Eastwood, however, said he "felt like a second-class citizen" and it was "humiliating" when he was told that he could not board the ferry.

"My wife was devastated too, she was really looking forward to doing some Christmas shopping over in Rotterdam, it was meant to be a festive treat."

Instead, the pair were left with no option but to turn around, abandon their plans and drive the 105 miles back to Greater Manchester.

We are speaking to P&O to understand why this happened and ensure that there can be no repeat of it
A spokesman for the Identity and Passport Service (IPS)

Mr Eastwood said: "When I approached check-in and flashed my ID card, the two girls on the desk looked at each other and said: 'We can't accept that'.

"It was like they had never seen one before. I saw a group of Dutch people using one, and I pointed at them and asked why were they being let through and why not me?

"They just said you're not allowed. They even suggested I drive all the way back and pick up my passport, we didn't have time because the ferry was leaving in less than three hours."

The Home Office has said they will refund him the travel costs and the price of the ferry tickets.

A spokesman for the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said: "We are sorry to hear of Mr Eastwood's experience.

"People have made numerous journeys around Europe using their identity cards and this seems to be an isolated incident.

"We have a standard and well established process for informing border agencies and carriers around the world of any change to international travel documents, which we followed in this case.

"We have spoken to P&O and they were notified of the UK National Identity Card's design and security features along with all international carriers in August and October."

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