A sign ‘banning’ children in school uniform from entering one of Louth’s main supermarkets sparked outrage last week - but shop staff and the police have both denied putting it up.
The sign - which appeared to refuse entry to any secondary school student in uniform without a parent - appeared in the supermarket’s doorway last Tuesday, leading to angry comments on social media over ‘discrimination’ against young people.
The sign said: “Please note, all students from the following schools are now banned from entering the store unless shopping with a parent:
“Louth Academy, Somercotes Academy, King Edwards VI Grammar. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The Management Team.”
Residents took to social media to decry the apparent ban as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘outrageous’, with district and county councillor Sarah Parkin adding: “A local supermarket has banned school kids due to incident of shoplifting. Why stop there? Why not ban all women if a woman is caught? Or men? Or go by age? Clothing? Why is it OK to discriminate against young people in ways we don’t tolerate for other groups?”
However, Morrisons store manager Byron Taylor told the Leader he was not aware that the sign had been put up, and ordered for it to be removed as soon as he found out the following day.
He said that as far as he was concerned, there was no ban - adding that children are welcome in the store.
A Morrisons head office spokesman later confirmed no ban had been in place, and said the sign had been put up without the knowledge of the store manager, or any other members of shop staff.
The Morrisons spokesman said they believed the sign had been put up by a local PCSO following a series of anti-social incidents involving young people in the area - but this claim has since been denied by Lincolnshire Police.
A police spokesman said: “The PCSO did not put up the sign, or advise the store to ban children.
“Rather they mentioned that other stores had done this. It will always be a matter for the store to decide.”
The spokesman added: “We have been made aware of some incidents involving anti-social behaviour at the Morrisons store in Louth.
“We will continue to work with local stores and schools to address this issue.”
Following the denial from Morrisons, Coun Parkin said she ‘welcomes the change of heart’, but added that she finds the situation ‘implausible’.
Meanwhile, it was revealed the Lincolnshire Co-op store in Newbridge Hill has had a ban on unaccompanied children in school uniform in place for some time.
Lincolnshire Co-op spokesperson Emma Snedden said: “We have had the policy in place for a number of months.
“It came about after we worked with members of the local policing team and staff from a nearby school on ways of reducing incidents of anti-social behaviour in the store and the surrounding area.”
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Meanwhile, Morrisons also came under fire from some motorists last week, after they received unfair parking charge notices after driving down Orme Lane (where the Morrisons staff car park is based), even though some neighbouring residents also access their own car spaces and driveways down this lane.
According to a Morrisons spokesman, the £85 parking charge notices - which are dealt with by a third-party company ‘ParkingEye’ - were issued in error due to a technical problem which occurred earlier this month.
The spokesman said that any wrongly-issued parking charge notices can be taken into the store to be cancelled.