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I was always told to stop the charge and then remove the cable from the charger first. If there was no way to stop the charge then, as mentioned, unplug from the car and then when trying to remove the plug from the charger you may need to push it further in to release the locking pin or try wiggling is in case the locking pin is catching on one of the locking hole's sides.
It's often impossible to stop the charge first, especially with the plug & go chargers at retail parks etc. It is normal to unplug the car first. As soon as the release button is pressed on the car the charge stops. Once the cable is removed from the car, the charge point usually releases the cable lock. This will be why the staff asked the OP to reconnect and disconnect the car. There won't have been any current flowing @ArcherGreg, as soon as the comms pin is disconnected (the much shorter on in the plug), all current is stopped. You can safely connect and disconnect. As mentioned above, pushing the plug in first, then pulling can also help get the locking pin released.
 
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