ALLEGATIONS that customers were turned away because they were wearing poppies have been strenuously denied by a Widnes shopkeeper.

Rumours claimed a man at The Original Pound Store Extra in Albert Road refused to serve a woman unless she took off her poppy.

Owner Sohail Goder, aged 25, is adamant this incident never happened and now fears for the safety of his staff, family and business after receiving intimidating threats.

Mr Goder, said: “It is a blatant lie and nasty rumour. I feel confused, upset and disheartened.

“We have never told anybody to get out of the shop for wearing a poppy.

“We are active supporters of Help for Heroes. All the profits from our flying lanterns go to that cause.

“We are all wearing poppies and have a full collection tin on the counter.”

Mr Goder, who has stores in St Helens and Huddersfield, took over the former Ethel Austin store in September.

He said: “We haven’t done anything, we are innocent.

“We have gone to hell and back for no reason.

“I’ve had war veterans come into the shop, screaming at me.

“I am not violent. I didn’t react.

“I was born in the UK. I’ve got friends in the army and neighbours who have served in the war.

“We don’t have anything against anyone of any creed or colour.”

Mr Goder said he held a two minutes’ silence on Friday to honour fallen heroes.

He added: “One thing I have always been taught is peace and respect.

“I don’t brag about my charity work but if somebody comes to me with a cause, I will always support it.

“I have invested my whole life in this business. I’m trying to create jobs.

“I work hard and plan one day to be a chain. I want to aspire to be a brand like Poundland.

“I didn’t want to speak out but my reputation has been tarnished. Someone can spread a malicious rumour and it crushes you.

“I have never in my life disrespected someone’s belief.

“I just want to clear my name.”