A FAMILY say they were turned away from Flamingo Land because staff thought they looked like travellers.
Brighouse businessman Tristan Lee took his family along to the theme park on Easter Sunday.
But he was stunned when staff turned him away, saying they would not be admitting around 200 people waiting in a queue after a group of travelling families were escorted out of the park.
Mr Lee, who runs two businesses in Brighouse, questioned how they can turn hundreds of people away without even speaking to anyone.
Flamingo Land described it as a “security incident” not linked to anyone’s ethnicity.
But Mr Lee thinks they made a big mistake and should apologise.
He and Clare Hudson, 30, took their five children along to the popular visitor attraction and were joined by family friends, which included four adults and their 12 children.
Ironically, Mr Lee, 44, has been going to Flamingo Land every year since it was a zoo – more than 40 years ago.
And he’s taken his family almost every Easter Bank Holiday weekend for the last decade, often spending the whole weekend there and staying in their motor home.
Clare said: “When we first got there they were escorting someone out with his wife and kids.
“We were then waiting for about an hour along with loads of other people who were asking what was going on.
“They then turned away about 200 people. It was unbelievable, but I didn’t see any arguments.
“We were there with our friends for a family day out and all the kids were devastated – they had been really looking forward to it.”
Tristan added: “I cut my finger at work and couldn’t drive the motor home as we usually do so Clare had to drive us in a minibus just for the day.
“We got there and were in a queue waiting to get tickets and we saw them just point along the line and the shutters came up.
“They said it was because they weren’t letting travellers in.
“Firstly, how can they have a policy not to let in one section of society? And then how do they decide who is and isn’t a traveller?
“I’ve got two businesses, I pay VAT, yet because we don’t look right according to some manager we’re turned away.”
Tristan runs the TS Lee and Son and CPR Skip Hire companies in Brighouse.
He and Clare took their children Hayden, 17, Kaley, 13, Caleb, nine, Chanel, seven and nine-month-old Tristan on the outing to the North Yorkshire theme park.
They were joined by two sets of family friends and their children – making 24 in total.
Tristan added: “We couldn’t reason with them.
“If they don’t want travellers in, they should put it on their adverts.
“I’m not one. I grew up on the fairground but have been running my businesses for the last 11 years.
“We pay about £250 to go over a Bank Holiday weekend and we go there because there’s something for all the kids, young and old.
“We went three times last year – if they looked at their records they’d see we even spent the Easter weekend in our motor home.
“But I won’t go back unless they apologise.”
Clare added: “It’s wrong, they could see we were on a family day out and someone decided we didn’t look right so turned us away.”
A spokesperson for Flamingo Land said: “I can confirm that on Sunday April 4 a security incident took place at the park entrance.
“As a direct result a number of visitors were refused admission to the park.
“The ethnicity of those involved is not known, they were refused admission solely as a result of their behaviour while entering the park.”