A bit about myself:
I live in Scotland,
am a middle aged divorcee with Multiple Sclerosis who has (or had, before now) a completely clean record.
Last week I came home find a card through my door from the police informing me that they had called to speak to me and would I please contact PC Thingumajig to arrange a time to talk regarding 'an ongoing investigation'.
I had no idea what this could be about and my medical condition leaves me embarrassingly prone to panic reactions in even the most innocuous out-of-the-norm situations.
I immediately started panicking that I had done something illegal to warrant the police at my door but after talking it out with a friend we concluded that perhaps I had witnessed something that the police were investigating as I don't live in the best area.
I phoned the PC and arranged to come in the next day to see him but completely spaced on asking why he needed to speak with me.
When I got to the police station I was taken into a small room with only a table and three chairs,
PC Thingumajig asked me to sit down and as he sat in front of me and pulled out his notebook
a second PC came in behind him and closed the door.
I started to get a little shaky as it was quite intimidating (this second PC was vaguely familiar to me as one that had treated a friend of mine particularly badly last year).
I was shocked and stunned when I was told that I had been accused by the local Boots of shoplifting a mascara the previous week.
I told them that I had not but as I was in full panic mode at this point I could not really digest the information they were giving me.
They told me that they had witnesses who had seen me take it and had followed me out of the store and through the shopping mall, as well as CCTV footage of the incident.
They were quite frankly not interested in any explanation I had for what had occurred on the two occasions that I recalled being in the store over recent weeks.
When I told them of my medical condition and its effect on my memory (particularly in stressful situations) as the reason why I could not remember the day in question, the intimidating one immediately latched on to this as an explanation for my thieving ways and would not let it go.
My record was checked and since it was clean I was told they could issue an official police warning or if I wanted to contest they would charge me and send it to the PF who would decide whether to take it to court or not.
By this time I was so distressed and confused I was beginning to doubt my OWN honesty so I agreed to the warning in order to avoid the stress and pressure of the long drawn out legal procedure which could have had devastating consequences for my health.
The warning was issued as well as a ban from Boots stores (I will never be darkening their doorstep again in any event - physically or digitally).
Since that time I have been so stressed
I have had panic attacks when I enter the shopping mall where I do volunteer work once a week,
am prone to crying uncontrollably,
have been unwilling to leave my home
and unable to socialise with my friends.
The stress has also had a deleterious effect on my health by worsening the symptoms of my MS.
I have only recently been able to look at the warning notice and comprehend the date of the alleged incident which was almost exactly a week prior and, now that I can ponder it with a clear head, I DO recollect the day in question as I was re-starting art classes on that date.
I DID enter the store more than once (a point they made repeatedly) as I had wanted to print a photo from my phone and, because their machine's USB was not recognising my device, I used the USB from my portable charger and accidentally left it in their machine.
I had returned a couple of hours later to retrieve it.
Since the photo printer is at the opposite end of the store from the make-up section I have no idea why they think I pocketed a mascara but since I was nowhere near that area of the shop (except to enter and leave) I have no idea why I have been accused of this crime - the only thing I pocketed in the store was my own property!
Is there any way I can get the store to at least apologise for humiliating me and can I get the police to rescind the warning?
Do they not have to stop me AT THE TIME instead of waiting a week to apprehend?
Should I be worried as to how the police got my name and address?
The only way I can think is to have accessed my prescription history at the pharmacy.
They wouldn't let me see the CCTV footage either when I asked and I'm pretty sure the Data Protection Act gives me that right.
I would really appreciate any advice I can get.