A young woman suffering from dementia has told how she was left humiliated after a Tesco store manager insisted he sniff her breath because he thought she was drunk.

Clare Thirgood - who suffers from Huntington's Disease - was challenged by staff who thought she was drunk when she tried to buy at bottle of Prosecco.

Clare, 33, told them she was not and that she suffered from a genetic disorder which can cause her to slur her speech and stumble.

The manager allowed her to buy the drink but only after first smelling her breath and failing to detect alcohol.

Clare said was left feeling 'embarrassed and discriminated against' after Tesco did not believe that her drunk symptoms were a disease.

Tesco has been forced to apologise to Clare and have said they will review their staff training after the incident in the Potters Bar store.

Clare from Potters Bar said: "I have not been treated so terribly in a store in my entire life- It was unlike anything I have experienced.

"For the manager of a store to lean over and smell my breath, because the staff members are not educated on what Huntington's is terrible.

"I was furious and shocked at the way I was treated and since that day I have not gone back to any shops- I have not been confident enough to speak to people.

"The fact that they did not believe that someone could not be drunk despite seeming drunk shows their lack of education."

Clare had only stopped to buy a bottle of Prosecco and a few other items on October 11.

She added: "I was heading to pay and I usually go to the self checkout but there was a lady at the till who looked smiley and friendly so I just went over to her with my shopping.

"But when she heard me talk she asked me if I was okay and I told her I am fine- I am just disabled.

"She began asking me if I was okay to drink alcohol to which I insisted, I am absolutely fine."

The teller called over a second Tesco employee and began discussing between the two of them if Clare was in a suitable condition to purchase alcohol.

Clare added: "I did not know what they were talking about, I thought they were wondering if I was old enough to have alcohol and I said to them 'I am 33'.

Huntington's disease is a condition that stops parts of the brain working properly over time.

It's passed on from from parents.

He colleague then turned to me to tell me that he believed me to be drunk and that I could not purchase alcohol drunk.

Clare then explained that she had Huntington's and added that one of the symptoms of the disease is that she can appear to be drunk.

She added: "I explained about Huntington's and said to them that if they fail to serve me, it would be discrimination.

The second colleague called a manager and Clare thought he was coming to apologise, but she was horrified when he leant over and smelt her breath.

Clare who works in marketing, continued: "I had three people in front of me all accusing me of being drunk.

I was explaining more to them about what Huntington's is and the manager leant over to me while I was talking and smelt my breath.

I could not believe what he was doing and told him that it would be irresponsible to drive to the shops drunk.

Upon smelling her breath, the Tesco manager 'reluctantly' let Clare purchase the alcohol and leave.

She added" I felt like he was just letting me go with the alcohol because he could not smell anything in my breath.

"I don't want to show my face in that store again as I am too self-conscious and angry.

Clare says she is angry that staff members did not follow the correct process required under the alcohol licencing act in which she should challenged directly.

A year ago Clare had badges made to wear for people to see that her behaviour could be mistaken for drunkeness but was in fact symptoms of her disease.

She said; "I had these badges made because I had had enough of people asking questions.

"I got them to educate people so they can understand more about Huntington's and they are quite funny at the same time."

"I did not think that I would need them while I am out doing a shop in Tesco.

She has made a complaint to Tesco who have apologised and claim they will review their staff training.

A spokesperson for Tesco said "We're very sorry for any upset or offence caused when Ms Thirgood visited our Potters Bar store.

"We've been in contact with her to apologise and our store manager would like to invite her in to store to discuss her concerns."

Huntington's is a condition that stops parts of the brain working properly over time.