A BOROUGH soldier was turned away and told he would not be served after visiting a newsagents wearing his military uniform.
Duane Fahy, from Leigh, was on a break from a recruitment day with his regiment when the incident happened.
The sapper wanted to buy a packet of cigarettes but was told by staff they would not serve him.
When he complained, fellow shoppers leapt to the Leigh soldier’s defence, with several staging an impromptu protest outside Alpha News in St Helens.
The incident sparked fury online, with many branding the decision to bar Duane “outrageous”.
Army chiefs have hit out, branded the newsagent’s actions “disappointing”.
An Army spokesperson said: “The Army is aware of an incident in which it appears two of our soldiers were refused service in a newsagent due to them being in uniform.
“This is very disappointing and not representative of the huge amount of public support the Armed Services continue to be given by the general public.”
Alpha News was shut yesterday following further protests outside the store.
However, London and Cambridge Properties, owners of The Hardshaw Centre, said they were aware of the incident and believed it to be a “genuine error” and that the shopkeeper would be apologising.
A spokesman said: “We have investigated these allegations and, having spoken to the shopkeeper in question, we believe this was a genuine error and not the result of any form of discrimination.
“We have been advised that the shopkeeper intends to extend a full apology to the individual involved as soon as possible.”
Police are now investigating a number of comments online surrounding the affair.
A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “Police are monitoring the situation and the owner of the business is helping officers with their enquiries.
“Police are also aware of offensive and threatening comments being posted on social media network sites towards this business. Although police have not received a report of complaint from the shop, a full investigation into the wider comments being made is underway by the SIGMA team.”