A FAMILY trip to the cinema was ruined after a manager enforced an “unwritten rule”.
Angie Senior-Maggs, seven, was prevented from seeing Toy Story 3 at the Huddersfield Odeon, even though her cousins had just bought her a ticket.
Jack Myall, 16, and his sister Emmeline , 14, (both pictured) had brought little Angie to see a 7.45pm showing of the U-rated film.
They bought three tickets at the box office, but were stopped from going into the screen by a passing manager.
Jack and Emmeline’s mother Jillian explained what happened.
She said: “Jack had just paid when a duty manager walked past and told them that no under-12s were allowed into the cinema after 7pm without an adult – regardless of the classification of the film they wanted to see.
“This appeared to be new information to the member of staff who had just sold the tickets, as well as being a shock to my son.
“Jack enquired as to where he could see this rule displayed, but was not given a full answer. He was left with no choice but to get a refund for his tickets and try to get hold of their grandad to come and collect them.”
Mrs Myall, who lives in Holmfirth, added: “Their grandad asked the manager where the rule was displayed and what it actually said. The manager was not able to show him this rule anywhere on the premises or on the website.
“She could not justify it but offered the explanation that it was down to the licensing restrictions placed on them by Kirklees Council.
“She managed to find a line of small print in the terms and conditions hidden on the website that stated ‘Children unaccompanied by an adult may not be admitted after certain times depending upon local licensing conditions’.
“Not wanting to make a fuss in front of the already disappointed children, my dad took them home.”
Mrs Myall looked into the matter the following day, July 21.
She said: “I checked the terms and conditions of the premises licence for the Odeon and found there were no restrictions on the admission of children at any time – other than in accordance with the classification of the film.
“I also confirmed this by contacting Kirklees to check if there were any other restrictions they had placed on the cinema since the licence was last updated.”
Mrs Myall then contacted the Odeon at the Galpharm Stadium.
She said: “I asked why my children and my niece had been turned away. The manager I spoke he would look in to the matter and promised to get back to me.
“He did, three days later, with the explanation that it was an unwritten rule that all the managers knew about.
“He admitted that the rule was not displayed anywhere in the cinema or on the website and that the ticket booking system did not warn of this rule either.
“He assured me they would be putting up signs telling people about this rule and said he would send me four free cinema tickets by way of an apology.
“This in no way compensates for the disappointment to my children and the inconvenience to my dad.”
She added: “What is it that happens at 7pm that makes the cinema such a dangerous place for children under-12 to be? Does the ‘U’ classification film have extra scenes added after 7pm that make it unsuitable for under-12s?
“The rule itself seems unjustified but even worse is the fact that it is enforced without any prior warning causing disappointment and inconvenience to all concerned.
“My young niece was even more confused by this attitude as she lives in Spain – where children are not only tolerated in all establishments at all times – but are positively welcomed.”
Yesterday an Odeon spokeswoman said: “We operate a policy whereby children under the age of 12 unaccompanied by an adult may not be admitted after 7pm, depending upon local licensing conditions.
“Odeon Huddersfield fully compensated the Myall family for the inconvenience experienced and will ensure that details are clearly communicated to staff and displayed at the cinema box office.”