Louis Gray, an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Manager at Sport Wales, has accused Hobbycraft of racial profiling after staff at the Harlech retail park in Newport allegedly refused to sell him paint, suggesting he might use it for graffiti.

Gray, who was with his four-year-old son at the time, wanted to purchase spray paint to repaint his child’s bicycle helmet in the colours of his son’s favourite mountain bike rider.

In a now-removed thread on X, Gray claimed he was “refused service” and described being surrounded by three staff members, one of whom wore a body camera to record the transaction.

He alleged that the store manager stated, “We can’t serve you; you could be doing graffiti with this.”

Graffiti suspect?

Gray asserted that the refusal was based on his race and attire, mentioning that he was wearing a Nike tracksuit and Yeezys. Hobbycraft responded, stating that an investigation was launched into the matter. The company explained that staff refused the sale due to age verification concerns as spray paints fall under an age-restricted category, and it is illegal to sell them to individuals under the age of 16 to reduce graffiti-related criminal damage.

Hobbycraft emphasised their adherence to the “Challenge 25” policy, which requires age verification for anyone who appears to be under 25 when purchasing restricted items. In an email shared with the Daily Mail, the company apologised for the incident, stating, “We have a zero tolerance approach to racism here at Hobbycraft and this is not how we want any of our customers to feel.”

Challenge 25

Gray, however, accused the store of using the Challenge 25 policy to “justify their bias.” He claimed that the staff suggested he could be a mystery shopper trying to catch them out. Gray expressed his frustration, stating, “Funny how, a white man came and purchased the paint, and did not get IDed. A white promise is held with higher regard than a Black promise? Is the Black pound not worth anything at @Hobbycraft??”

Gray also highlighted the impact on his son, urging the store to apologise to him. He described the experience of having to call his white grandad to make the purchase as “degrading.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.