North West Wales

Language row: Police called after Dr Robyn Lewis demands shop bill in Welsh

Dr Robyn Lewis
Image caption Dr Robyn Lewis insisted the shop assistant told him the amount owed in Welsh

Police were called to a shop in Gwynedd after the cashier asked a former archdruid for payment in English.

Dr Robyn Lewis, 83, insisted the shop assistant at the Spar in Pwllheli told him the amount owed in Welsh.

But she repeated it three times in English before the manager told Dr Lewis he would call the police unless he paid or left the premises.

Dr Lewis said: "All I wanted was an answer in my own language, in my own country."

"The young lady at the till spoke fluent Welsh but she told me the sum of £58.62 was due," he said.

"I asked her to repeat it in Welsh but she said it again in English.

"I told her I'd asked her to repeat it it in Welsh but she said it for the third time."

Dr Lewis was expecting the cashier to ask him for "pum-deg-wyth punt, chwedeg-dau".

But instead she said his shopping was "fifty-eight pounds and sixty-two pence".

When the first officer from North Wales Police arrived back-up had to be called because he was a non-Welsh speaker.

"It was sorted out by me being given another Welsh-speaking cashier whom I spoke entirely in Welsh," Dr Lewis said.

Image caption Dr Lewis is a former archdruid of the Gorsedd

"I paid and left. Honour was satisfied.

"All I wanted was an answer in my own language, in my own country."

Dr Lewis is a former archdruid of the Gorsedd of the Bards at the National Eisteddfod Welsh cultural festival.

Conrad Davies, who owns the Spar shop, said: "The customer was not happy so we had to call the police as he refused to pay for his goods.

"The situation was completely blown out of proportion and left our member of staff extremely upset."