The owners of a U.K. shopping center have apologized after a security staffer reportedly told a disabled World War II veteran that his mobility scooter could be viewed as a terrorist device.
Frank Curtis, a 96-year-old veteran who helped liberate Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, is a regular at The Spires Shopping Centre in Barnet, North London, where he often eats at a local restaurant.
Curtis was an infantryman who was injured in the war by an explosive that struck a bren gun carrier, a type of armored personnel vehicle used by British forces in the conflict. He uses a mobility scooter to get around and leaves the scooter near the shopping center's entrance when he goes inside, according to the U.K.'s Barnet-Today.
On a recent afternoon, Curtis returned to his scooter to find a note attached to it, telling him to stop "dumping" his scooter in front of the shopping center because it could be used as a terrorist device "in light of current world terrorist events."
"I find this extremely unreasonable as the area and surrounding high road is filled with parked cars, which could be packed with explosives and form a far greater danger than my open exposed scooter," Curtis told Barnet-Today.
The veteran doesn't deny leaving his scooter unattended.
“I do occasionally, when it’ s raining, park my scooter in the ungated portion of The Spires establishment," he said. "This is because I frequent a nearby restaurant and shops."
When Curtis complained, a spokeswoman for the shopping center wrote a letter of apology and asked him to continue eating and shopping at The Spires. The note Curtis received from the security staffer, she said, was "inappropriate," and the incident was being "dealt with internally."
"The safety and security of shoppers is of utmost concern for the centre management and security team at The Spires shopping centre," the spokeswoman wrote in the letter. "Therefore, on being advised of public concerns raised over a mobility scooter that was often left unattended on the mall over long periods of time, a member of the security team left a note for the owner asking him to remove the scooter in future."