Support for petrol station in race row

Exterior of the Boars Head Service Station, petrol station, Wigan Road, Standish

Exterior of the Boars Head Service Station, petrol station, Wigan Road, Standish

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STAFF at a petrol station who were subjected to vile racist abuse on Facebook have had a flurry of support from kind-hearted Wiganers.

Workers at The Boars Head Service Station in Standish came under-fire after a post on the social networking website wrongly alleged that a member of staff had refused to serve a young customer because he was wearing a Help for Heroes top.

However, police have since confirmed the youngster was turned away because he wanted to buy cigarettes and did not have identification to prove his age.

Officers are now investigating a number of comments made online as potential hate crimes.

But that hasn’t stopped many of the baseless posts receiving more than 1,000 shares.

The original post was from a woman who said her son had been refused service for wearing the charity’s top while one man who says he was an ex-soldier called on people to boycott the station, claiming they supported the Taliban.

However, after the Wigan Evening Post’s exclusive front page revealing the online slurs and the police probe, a number of Post readers have called on Wiganers to make a point of supporting the Standish business, with many stating how they would be going out of their way to use the station.

Carl Lloyd wrote: “I hope people remember this next time they are tempted to act the keyboard warrior without hearing the full story. I’m sure most people posting spiteful comments were only too happy to use it as an excuse to air their racist views.”

Karen Kendrick said: “Stuff like this makes my blood boil. We used to go in there all the time without a problem. The staff were always polite and friendly, so why would some ill-informed bigot want to make something up to stir tension and hatred and cause problems for someone who is simply trying to run a business? They should be ashamed of themselves. I hope the good people of Wigan make an effort to go there to show support.”

Kev Ascroft posted: “Refused service because of no ID. Let’s pretend it was because of my t-shirt, that will teach them to not serve me again. Sick minds out there!”

The owner of the shop, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I have run this place for nine or 10 years and never had any problems. Everyone around here knows us.

“I’m going to take action because a lot of what has been posted has been racist, in my opinion, and I have informed the police.

“It was nothing to do with the shirt - my cashier followed the rules and now it has gone on Facebook and become a big issue.

“It’s absolutely not right this, it has been made up.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman has confirmed they are investigating the matter as a hate crime.