13/06/2012 11:32 BST | Updated 13/06/2012 11:33 BST

Ikea Accused Of Racism After Turning Gypsies Away

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has been accused of racism after a security guard told a customer that gypsies weren't allowed in the store.

Luke Massey, was driving his small camper van into the Croydon branch of the store when he was flagged down and asked if he was a gypsy by the car parking attendent.

The 27-year-old, who was with his girlfriend and mother at the time, told The Independent he was "stunned" by the question, especially as the guard told him that he would have been denied entry if he had said he was a member of the travelling community.

"A lot of them are coming in similar cars. If you had said yes I wouldn't have let you into the premises" the security guard can be heard saying.

Joseph Jones, head of the Gypsy Council, told The Huffington Post UK that the group were considering action following the "unsavoury" behaviour of the company.

"They shouldnt be discriminating against any section of society.

"We have the right to take it to the Equalities And Human Rights Commission, although whether we will or not is a different matter.

"It's quite unsavoury that a foreign company like Ikea operating in this company is discriminating against an indigenous minority."

He told the Huffington Post UK that banning all gypsies from Ikea was not a solution to problems they may have been having with travellers.

"If there has been certain people from our community doing something they didn't like in their area, well I'm sorry, but they can't just ban everyone.

"Racism doesn't stop with just one community, racism is like a jaundice and it spreads."

He called on people to stand up against racism in all its forms, saying: "Other people from other ethnic groups should wake up. If they let this continue they can look forward to the same treatment."

Garry Deakin, IKEA Croydon Store Manager said, “At IKEA the safety and security of our customers is our top priority. Over recent months the Travelling Community in the Croydon area have been attempting to access the customer car park to set up their mobile homes, which not only has an impact on customers’ shopping experience but also poses a health and safety risk.

“After discussions with the Local Traveller Liaison Officer and Croydon Council, we have now implemented preventative procedures to secure the car park, including a Security Officer to patrol the entrance and prevent mobile homes entering.

"We will always endeavour to be sensitive and discreet in our approach to securing the car park and have invited Mr Massey back to the store to apologise and to discuss his experience in order to improve our approach in the future."