A PETROL station has angered residents after refusing to serve a man because he was homeless.

Harold Saunders, of Basildon, was on his way to work at 5.30am when he went to the BP garage, off of the Roundacre roundabout, Basildon.

On his way in, he was stopped by a man who gave him some money and asked him to buy a coffee on his behalf.

Mr Saunders said: “I asked him why he couldn’t buy himself a coffee.

“He said that they wouldn’t allow him to go in to the petrol station because he is homeless.

“I told to him to come in with me.

“He initially refused but after some persuasion he came into the store with me.

“I immediately asked the cashier why he wouldn’t serve the homeless man a drink and he pointed me towards the manager.” When Mr Saunders spoke to the manager, he was told that it is BP policy to not serve homeless people at the garage.

Mr Saunders said: “I asked him how he sleeps at night.

“I left and gave the gentlemen my latte.

“I was honestly shocked and appalled at how such a large company are conducting themselves on such a small matter.

“I know the homeless seem to congregate outside the BP, but instead of being proactive they are being negative towards them which in my eyes is bang out of order.

“BP makes billions in profits annually.

“They should be feeding the homeless or even setting up little charities to help them, not treating them like this.

“They should hang their heads in shame.

“They made him feel like he was completely nothing.

“It’s an absolute disgrace what they did.”

He added that the company was more concerned about money than people.

After posting on social media, other residents expressed their disgust at the company’s approach, with many calling for a boycott of the shop until it changed its policy.

BP has defended its decision, saying the garage has a problem with a group of homeless people who congregate on the forecourt.

A spokesman from BP said: "We work to ensure our stores are safe and meet the requirements of all our customers. 

"We do not have any policy that discriminates against customers who may be homeless. 

"We will, however, decline to serve those who disrupt our business or our other customers. 

"In recent months, we have had an issue with a number of individuals persistently loitering and begging for money outside the store on our Basildon site, disrupting our other customers.

"We have made clear to these individuals that their presence is disrupting our business and we will not serve them."