Campaign to bring back Big Issue seller barred from Sheffield supermarket

Big Issue seller Andy Ross at Waitrose
Big Issue seller Andy Ross at Waitrose
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A campaign has been launched to reinstate a Big Issue seller who has been barred from offering copies of the magazine outside Waitrose on Ecclesall Road.

Andy Ross has sold the publication - which helps homeless people to earn a living - outside the doors of the supermarket for several years.

But Andy will now have to find a new pitch to operate from after Waitrose requested that he be moved away, in response to a series of complaints from shoppers.

However, supporters are calling for the decision to be reversed. A petition has been signed by 130 people so far.

“Andy is a committed Big Issue seller, helpful to customers, much loved by many customers, sociable and always positive and polite,” petitioners say.

Some customers ‘complained they felt forced to buy a copy’, while Andy is accused of ‘flouting’ a condition imposed four years ago that he should only sell outside the store’s exit, they add.

One signatory, Oonagh Scott-Godley, said: “Everybody, including Waitrose customers, has to face the reality of homelessness.”

A Waitrose spokesman said: “We are very supportive of the work of The Big Issue and had welcomed Andy on our site for many years, but for a number of reasons this is unfortunately no longer possible and we have agreed with the Big Issue that he work in another area.”

In 2011 Waitrose said more than 100 complaints had been received about ‘aggressive’ sales tactics used by Andy, who lost his home while suffering a drink problem.

Visit to see the petition.