[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Girl, 4, asked to remove 'hoodie'
Karen Lewis
Cheryl Lewis took this photo of Karen straight after the incident
A four-year-old girl was asked to take down the hood of her cardigan while visiting a seaside amusement arcade.

Karen Lewis's mother Cheryl, from Shrewsbury, said her daughter was upset following the incident at Les Harker's Amusements in Rhyl during a holiday.

She said Karen was with her granddad playing on the 2p machine when a worker made the request because of "security".

The arcade owner has defended the decision saying that his employee was only following instructions.

Ms Lewis, 36, said: "I was having a game of bingo while the little one was on the 2p machine with my dad Desmond.

"She had her hood up on her cardigan, a young lad came across and asked her to take her hood down because of security."

When Ms Lewis learned what had happened, she spoke to the worker. She said: "He said 'It's policy, they don't allow any hoodies in there.'"

"If anything happened, I don't really want to see a hoodie with a hoodie. I want to see and be able to recognise him.
Les Harker, arcade owner

She asked to speak to a supervisor and pointed out that, as other people were wearing baseball and beanie caps, they should also be made to remove them.

Ms Lewis said: "The manager told me I was being unreasonable, that I was making a scene and that my daughter was not going to be emotionally scarred because of the incident.

"I complained that she was being victimised and that she was four-year-old child."

She said a manager said Karen could put her hood back up but Ms Lewis remained "annoyed" others were not being made to remove their hats.

There were no notices about the no-hoodie policy in the arcade, according to Ms Lewis.

Karen always likes to wear her hood up, said Ms Lewis, adding: "We had said to her some people might think you are a hoodie, it's a standing joke.

"If someone 15 or 16 walks in in a hoodie, there's a difference between that and a four-year-old girl in a purple cardigan."

Les Harker, the arcade's owner, said of the worker: "They have instructions from my son who is now the MD...they've got instructions from the top - it's no hoodies and that's the policy."

He said they had spent a fortune on making the emporium a "good family venue" that was mainly aimed at children.

His employee had asked the family if the little girl would take her hood off because they had a no hoodie policy, he said.

The manager had explained the policy to the family but the mother was still unhappy and wanted to see someone else, said Mr Harker.


His son Craig, the managing director, had then told the family the little girl could put the hood back on if it would make them happier.

"He said if it makes you happy put the hood back, she's only a little child. Let common sense prevail", said Mr Harker snr.

His son had also told the family that they were entitled to leave if they were still unhappy, according to Mr Harker.

The arcade would stick to the no hoodie policy, Mr Harker said, adding: "We've got a high street rife with young kids running around, we like to see what's happening in the emporium.

"If there is an incident to a hoodie or with a hoodie, we've got CCTV all over the place.

"If anything happened..I want to see and be able to recognise him."

Slash-proof 'hoodies' criticised
21 Aug 07 |  West Yorkshire
Don't hug a hoodie, says Cameron
17 May 07 |  UK Politics

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific