A man who was removed from the intu Broadmarsh shopping centre in Nottingham by security guards for walking through the centre barefoot says wearing no shoes in his spare time is his "human right". Dean Hollingworth, of Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, visited the caves beneath the shopping centre, on Monday, October 31. While he said the visit was lovely, and the staff at the caves were "brilliant", when he tried to walk through the centre to return to his car, he was stopped by security guards because of his '"unusual dress sense".
"My friend and I came out of the caves and started to walk towards Wimpy, the restaurant on the corner, when we were stopped by a security guard," he said.
Mr Hollingworth, 45, said he was initially prevented from walking through centre, with security guards insisting he go out the entrance nearest to the caves and and walk around to car park.
But Mr Hollingworth refused, saying that it is his "human right" to wear, or not wear, whatever he chooses.
"They wanted to remove me from the centre because I spend most of my spare time barefoot," he said. "It's my choice, it's what I feel comfortable with and it's healthy for my feet.
"Would they remove a woman from the centre for wearing dangerously high heels? I take care where I walk, and have good personal hygiene."
An argument ensued and Mr Hollingworth, who works as a maintenance operative at Sawley Marina, admitted that he could have "handled it better".
"My response was one of anger, and a feeling of victimization," he said. "The way they acted, you would have thought I had stolen something, assaulted someone or been involved in act of terrorism."
Ultimately, Mr Hollingworth was permitted to exit the shopping centre via his "intended route", closer to Broadmarsh car park, but was escorted out by a security guard.
When asked why he enjoys being barefoot, he said: "In the summer, I like to go hiking without shoes on, but if you don't do it often, your feet get soft. I have to wear safety shoes for my job, so on my days off I prefer to be free and keep my feet in the condition to walk over sharp rocks and things."
Mr Hollingworth also said that he had walked through Broadmarsh barefoot many times, and hadn't ever been questioned before.
Nigel Wheatley, general manager for intu in Nottingham, said: "To ensure the comfort and safety of all our shoppers, we have a code of conduct in place.
This code of conduct is displayed at the entrances to intu Broadmarsh, and all our centres, and asks that footwear is worn at all times within the centre. We do this to ensure customer safety which is our number one priority."