Insult to Tourettes-suffering Gulf War veteran who was refused beer at a Sunderland bar

Former soldier Keith Hopkins is unhappy that he was refused service at Yate's Bar in Sunderland town centre despite them being told that his behaviour was the result of post traumatic streess and Tourette's Syndrome.

Former soldier Keith Hopkins is unhappy that he was refused service at Yate's Bar in Sunderland town centre despite them being told that his behaviour was the result of post traumatic streess and Tourette's Syndrome.

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A GULF War hero suffering from Tourette’s syndrome was refused a pint because bar staff thought he was drunk.

Keith Hopkins, 44, was left feeling degraded and embarrassed after staff at Yates’s turned him down for a lunch-time drink with a pal.

Keith said while asking for the pint he suffered a tic - a common symptom of the neurological condition.

But instead of getting a sympathetic response, Keith, who manages Sunderland-based veteran charity Homeless Heroes, said he was told he was too drunk.

Keith, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since serving in the Gulf War in 1990, said: “We were both fuming.

“It was her attitude and the way she degraded me and made me feel.

“It’s not my fault that I’ve got this condition. You have to deal with and put up with stuff from people and 90 per cent of the time I’m used to it but she was so disrespectful.”

Keith, who suffered neurological damage that led to him developing Tourette’s during a skiing accident in 1992, had gone to pub in Burdon Road, in Sunderland city centre, for lunch with colleague Richie Fox.

They had both been working at the newly-opened Waterloo Place offices for Homeless Heroes, which helps ex-servicemen deal with issues including poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

Keith, of Easington, said: “When I walked up to the bar I had one tic but nothing really bad and when I asked for a pint she said I couldn’t have any because I was drunk.

“I asked to speak to the manager and the girl said that she had said I couldn’t have a drink and it was up to her.”

Richie Fox, who manages Homeless Heroes, said he has been left so angry he now plans on boycotting the pub.

Richie, 37, said: “After they wouldn’t serve Keith I went up and explained the situation and that Keith had Tourette’s and even then they wouldn’t serve us.

“The barmaid said if he had Tourette’s then he shouldn’t be drinking anyway, as if she knew all about neurological conditions.

“We’d already ordered our food and I asked if we could just have a coke.

“Eventually they agreed, but the attitude of the barmaid and the manager was terrible.

“I think we’re going to boycott the Yates’s,

“I took real offence to what has happened to Keith and I know none of the lads who come to the centre won’t be going there again.

“Keith is very aware of his Tourette’s and this has really knocked him back.”

A Yates’s spokeswoman said: “The police often carry out a number of different operations across the country including sending in underage customers and those who appear to be drunk into premises, to ensure licensees adhere to licensing rules and refuse service.

“Our staff are therefore careful to ensure our customers are fit to be served alcohol and will refuse service to those who are deemed drunk.

“On this occasion a gentleman approached the bar who appeared unsteady on his feet and was refused the sale of alcohol.

“Unfortunately, we now understand that the gentlemen concerned has Tourette’s syndrome, which can give the impression of being under the influence of alcohol.

“At the time of service no medical evidence was provided to support this and so the duty manager took the decision to refuse the sale of alcohol.

“The gentleman was served a soft drink and food.”

PANEL

TOURETTE’S syndrome is a neurological condition.

The key feature are tics, involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements.

It is sometimes known as multiple tic disorder or tic spectrum disorder.

There is no current cure for the condition but there are medications available to help control the tics if they cause problems.

Most people with Tourette’s are not significantly affected by their tics or behaviour and do not require medication.