A NEW mum claims she was refused service in a South Tyneside restaurant – because she had a baby buggy with her.
Emma Telford went to Sambuca restaurant on South Shields seafront last week with her husband and 19-week-old daughter Isabella, and says she was “disgusted” after being turned away by staff.
Mrs Telford claims she was told that buggies are not allowed in the restaurant, and she would have to leave the baby carrier outside, which she was unwilling to do because it cost £300 – and Isabella was asleep in it at the time.
The restaurant, in Sea Road, confirmed that health and safety issues mean bringing buggies into the restaurant is impossible, but there is a secure area outside for buggies.
Mrs Telford, of Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, said: “I didn’t even think about the pram and we just went to the restaurant and walked through the door.
“Instantly, I was told we wouldn’t be able to dine. I was a bit taken aback.
“They said we could leave the buggy outside, but that wasn’t an option.
“It cost £300 and our daughter was asleep. I asked if we could sit out the back, but they said ‘no’ and we never got an explanation as to why.
“I was so angry and upset that I walked away, as I felt we were being discriminated against.”
Restaurant manager Harry Smith said: “We have a sign on the door which explains that, for health and safety reasons, prams are not allowed as we are a very small restaurant.
“Buggies can be left outside in a locked area and hardly anyone complains about that because it is locked at all times.
“We have 11 high chairs and, on a Wednesday lunchtime for instance, every one of them can be being used.”
Mrs Telford insists she was not informed there was a locked area for buggies, and added: “We were told straight. No buggy – leave it outside.
“I was so upset I just walked out and felt like I was going to cry. I couldn’t believe it.”