A FURIOUS father was handcuffed and arrested at a Tesco Express store after staff refused to accept his £20 Bank of Ireland note.

Police were called to Wimborne Road, Moordown, following a stand-off between Peter Byrne and employees.

Peter, 43, said: “I was stunned because I had used a similar note in the same shop the night before and there hadn’t been a problem. But when I went to pay £11.14 for goods I was told that they couldn’t accept the Northern Irish note.

“I work three days a week in Ireland and often bring back notes. I hadn’t any other cash with me. I tried to explain it was sterling, which it says on the note, and legal tender, but was informed that Tesco no longer accepts Irish bank notes.

“I live around the corner so I offered proof of identification but it made no difference.

“There was a stand-off – they wouldn’t accept my note and I refused to leave without my goods. I told them that I was a UK citizen and knew my rights. Their only option was to call the police.

“I was born in Ireland and a principle was at stake. I was calm but adamant they were wrong.

“A police officer arrived, slapped on handcuffs and arrested me. I was put in a marked car, another one turned up and radio checks were carried out. Then they dropped me back home and said I was free to go.

“My wife Rose and I were Tesco shoppers but we are now boycotting their stores.”

A police spokesman said: “We received a call from the store manager to say they were having problems with a male customer who had tendered a £20 note which they were not accepting due to policy. The manager said the customer had been asked to provide another method of payment and then became agitated.”

He added: “Public safety is our top priority. The customer was briefly arrested to prevent a breach of the peace before being released and taken home by officers.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “Staff have the right to refuse any tender. In Bournemouth they don’t normally see Northern Irish notes and there were suspicions that the note was a fake.

“There is no company policy to refuse notes from Northern Ireland. We have stores there. It was nothing personal but the gentleman became extremely rude and abusive to people just trying to do their jobs which we don’t tolerate.”