United Kingdom

Pictured: Gary Lineker browses M&S food hall WITHOUT a Covid-19 mask

Gary Lineker has apologised after he was pictured shopping in an M&S food hall without a Covid-19 mask, despite berating the public for months to wear a face covering during the pandemic.

Lineker, 59, blamed 'old age,' for the mistake after he was snapped at his local M&S in Barnes, South London, on Sunday.

The Match of the Day presenter has previously described people who don't wear masks as 'snowflakes,' encouraging people to cover up as it is a 'painless gesture'.

Lineker took to Twitter to apologise for the blunder, writing: 'In my old age, I went into a store and forgot to put my mask on. 

'Was wondering why people were giving me daggers. Realised after a couple of minutes and hastily put it on. Felt awful and embarrassed. Apologies to those present.'

Gary Lineker has apologised after he was pictured in M&S food hall in London, without a mask

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Britain, the outspoken former England striker has made repeated calls on social media for people to cover their faces while social distancing.

On April 8, in the early weeks of lockdown, he shared a picture of him queuing outside the same M&S, this time wearing a mask.

In the post, he wrote: '2nd time out of the house in 3 weeks to get some food supplies. 

'I’m taking no chances. Great to see people respecting the social distancing and everyone good natured.'

Lineker took to Twitter to apologise for the blunder, writing: 'In my old age, I went into a store and forgot to put my mask on'

Two weeks later, on Apirl 17, he wrote: 'How can there be any debate about whether we should be wearing a mask?

'Even if it's only a one per cent chance of making you safer. Even if it is only a one per cent chance of stopping you giving it to someone else. Even if it only saves on life then it has to be beneficial.'

On July 2, he repeated his call, responding to an article on masks by tweeting: 'This seems to be the most obvious thing in the world. Can't understand why anyone would object to wearing a mask.

'Painless gesture to ensure you don't spread the virus to others and great for hiding bad breath.' 

Then, on July 17, he asked: 'Why would anyone object to wearing a mask in a shop?

'Not exactly a hardship. What a country of snowflakes we've become.'

Gary Lineker has repeatedly encouraged followers to wear face masks, branding anyone who doesn't as 'snowflakes'

The eagle-eyed 38-year-old shopper who spotted Lineker in M&S without a mask on Sunday told The Daily Star: 'It's just hypocrisy on another level. He had even tweeted a photo of him wearing a mask recently in front of that same M&S store and told people to wear masks in supermarkets. If it was anyone else I wouldn't mind so much.

'But it's frustrating for someone who tries to take the moral high ground as much as he does.' 

Police have the power to fine people who do not comply with rules around face coverings.

Three months ago Lineker shared a photo of himself making a train journey with a mask on with the caption: 'On a train. So exciting'

Comedian David Baddiel jokingly hit back: 'I think we all know you can't get one to fit round your ears.'

Gary Lineker (left) has blamed his 'old age' for forgetting to wear a face mask. Pictured having dinner with Piers Morgan (right) in west London two weeks ago

Government guidance states: 'If necessary, the police and Transport for London (TfL) officers have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) for the first offence.'

Comedian David Baddiel poked fun at the Walkers ambassador, writing: 'I think we all know you can't fit one round your ears.'

Baddiel then added: 'P.S I love Gary. Even his ears.'

It is not clear if any member of staff at M&S asked the former Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona player to put on a face mask. 

MailOnline has approached Marks and Spencer for a comment.

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