A FORMER soldier who was injured in an explosion in Afghanistan has said he was refused entry to a York bar because of his facial scars.

James Dalby, 23, from Heworth, said he was the only one of his group of friends to be stopped when they went into Yates's at the start of a night out in York on Saturday.

Mr Dalby said he was initially told he could not come in as he was dressed too casually but when the member of door staff was questioned by a friend, she was told it was because of his facial scars and that "it looks bad".

However, a spokesperson for Yates's denied this had happened and said a full investigation had determined a group of customers were stopped due to not meeting the dress code.

A peaceful protest calling for people to boycott Yates's is due to be held in York on April 26 with hundreds of people due to attend, after the incident was shared many hundreds of times on social networking sites.

Mr Dalby, who has been medically discharged from the Army, suffered serious injuries including a shrapnel and burn injuries to his face, a fractured eye socket, broken leg and third degree burns in the explosion in 2010.

He said: "I got refused from Yates's for something I can't control.

"I was not drunk and I wasn't being disorderly, I wasn't giving him a reason to target anything.
"It would be nice to get a public apology and for people to be aware that it goes on.

"That was my job and it was not my call to make. To be refused for being an ex-serviceman with facial scars does anger me."

Mr Dalby was injured in 2010 when he was working as a trooper for the Royal Dragoon Guards. A key part of his role was to search land to find IEDs.

Matt Rayner, 25, who was one of the friends with Mr Dalby said: "Everyone was disgusted by it. Of the group that was out, everyone was allowed in apart from James. He was not dressed any differently to me.

"James is a quiet lad and is not the most confident, something like this is going to knock his confidence. I just think it's wrong."

A spokesperson for Yates York said: “We can confirm that a group of customers were refused entry at one of our sites because they did not meet the dress code in place for that evening which applies to the wearing of sportswear/hooded tops. This dress code is in operation on all weekend nights and applies to everyone for their safety and to comply with our licencing conditions.”

They said the chain worked with a service charity and had an agreement to help employ former servicemen and women.