An English theme park has barred all single people from entering‚ just in case they are a paedophile.

Puxton Park, a family-friendly theme park in a coastal town west of London, has a policy of not allowing single men or women through its gates in order to protect the children inside.

Grandfather Matthew Richards, 54, said he was shocked to be refused admission when he attempted to see a falconry display on Thursday.

"I was frankly amazed," he told the Western Gazette.

"We have taken one of our grandchildren there before, and I saw that the falconry was there and thought it would be interesting to go back and see the displays.

"I almost feel discriminated against."

Richards, a bird enthusiast, was doubly annoyed because he had travelled almost 25 miles to see the display.

The park's managing director, Alistair Mead, has defended the rule, which has been in place since it opened seven years ago.

"There is a lot in the headlines about paedophiles and things that are going on with children," he told the Western Gazette.

"We have done our research and, in line with all other parks, we don‚" let single men or women in.

"I think if I did a survey of 100 of our customers they would agree that we are doing the right thing."

Mead said single people could see the falconry by prior appointment.

The rule is buried in Puxton Park's website under a long list in the prices section: "We are sorry but we are unable to let single men or women without children into the park."

The policy has sparked outrage on social media, with many taking to Facebook to express their anger.

One user commented: "As a retired lady, I would still be unwelcome in your park if I were to visit by myself - with or without a camera - your website makes no mention of singletons with cameras, just singletons - male and female."

Another wrote: "one of the largest visitor attractions in the South West providing fun and variety with something to offer everyone...." Everyone? Evidently not. You're certainly off our list of places to visit."

Following the outcry, Mead posted a statement on Facebook saying that the park is predominantly an "attraction for children aged 0 years to 7 years with 90 percent of the park dedicated fully to child’s play, which is not suitable for lone adults."

 

 

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