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A man has been banned from Lidl after complaining about a box of eggs that he thought had been chewed by rats.

Matt Garside, 59, was shopping at his local supermarket in Colne, Lancashire, on July 7 when the incident happened.

He came across a suspicious box of eggs and told workers that rats could be responsible for it, but he claimed that they refused to apologise.

Instead, he said he was banned from the supermarket after a manager claimed the customer had “upset” staff with his persistent queries.

The fuming dad said he felt “angry” after the incident as he was asked to leave the premises when he tried to pay for his shopping, even though he insists he wasn’t abusive to workers.

He said: “I don’t know why they have dealt with this in this way. It’s just beyond me.”

Lidl told The Mirror that a full investigation was carried out after the incident, which found no evidence of pest activity.

The professional photographer said that months later, he received an email from Lidl customer service, telling him that he would be banned from the shop for months due to his behaviour.

Matt said: “I have a calm exterior, but I’m absolutely seething mad that this has happened to me. It’s the big guy stepping on the little guy in a pretty disgusting way.

“When I got the email saying I was banned, I just thought, ‘What’s going on there?’ They were making out that I was abusive to their staff. But I wasn’t. I was just persistent.”

Staff said the decision to temporarily ban the customer was taken as a result of alleged abusive behaviour towards staff.

Recalling the day of the incident, Mr Garside said: “I was shopping in Lidl in Colne, and I came across the box, which clearly had been gnawed by rats.

“So I went to a member of staff, but their response was a bit odd. They took the box off me, and they also didn’t give an apology or anything.

“I was a bit shocked as they wanted to play it down immediately.”

Matt said after making initial inquiries, the supermarket manager then confronted him about his supposed bad behaviour.

He said: “He went on a bit of a tirade at me, saying that I had upset his member of staff. I immediately told him I hadn’t.”

Matt said he tried to show the manager the photo he had taken of the egg box, but he refused to look at it and then ordered him to leave the shop without his groceries.

He said: “I’m a bit of a stubborn person, so I continued, but I wasn’t shouting or being abusive.

“Eventually, I got to one of the tills, and I started to video what was happening as well. I was just in disbelief that this manager was dismissing it.

“He didn’t realise I had taken a picture and had a photo, and I said to him, ‘Why don’t you look at the photo’ but he said, ‘No, I don’t want to.’

“I continued until he came around and took everything out of my basket and said, ‘I’m not going to serve you.’

Matt said he had later filed a complaint to Lidl customer service and initially received an apology after eight weeks regarding his experience.

But several weeks later, he received a new email that informed him he had been barred from the shop for six months due to his behaviour.

He said: “Initially, I got an apology for discovering this box.

“And then several weeks later, I got another email from customer services saying I was banned from entering Lidl.

“So for my trouble of finding this box, I was banned from Lidl. It said if I turned up at their Lidl, I would be trespassing, and they would take action.”

Lidl said in a statement: “At Lidl GB, we always strive for best practice when it comes to the health and safety of our customers. As soon as the matter was raised with our store colleagues in July, it was immediately escalated to senior management with a full investigation subsequently being carried out.

“This included third party inspections which found no evidence of pest activity. We would like to further reassure customers that, as part of our standard due diligence, additional checks have been carried out since July and have also come back clear.

“Whilst we are always grateful to our customers for raising any concerns with us to address, we have a zero tolerance policy for abusive behaviour and therefore ask that any interactions with our store colleagues are carried out in a kind and respectful manner.”