Banned for under-16s: Shropshire village backs fight over energy drinks
A number of large supermarket chains have announced plans to ban the sale of energy drinks to youngsters – but now a Shropshire village believes it is the first to totally ban children under 16 buying them.
As of Wednesday, Stans Superstore, St Martins Petrol Station and St Martins School in the village, near Oswestry, have all agreed to support the campaign, which was started by Keith Allum, who helps to run a youth club in the village.
Mr Allum said: “I think if we can get one child to do it we can get them all to do it.
“We’ve all been working together putting this in place.
“We banned energy drinks here at the youth centre before Christmas and since we’ve banned them we’ve noticed a big difference in their behaviour.
“The businesses aren’t losing out either as the kids are just buying other drinks instead of energy drinks.
“If we can educate the kids not to drink it then they’ve got a better chance of not buying it when they’re older.”
Mr Allum said he is trying to get other areas on board with the campaign.
“I feel it’s quite an achievement,” he added.
“I’m trying to spread the word and have been tweeting about it. I’ve had Jamie Oliver liking my tweets.
“All the big supermarkets are starting to ban it but what about the smaller local shops like we have here?
“We need to get all the local independent shops on board so the kids who go to school elsewhere can’t buy it and bring it home.”
Andrew Faulks, owner of Stans, was happy to get on board, and said he hopes it makes a big difference in the area.
He said: "We have agreed to get on board with it and have a note come on our system now, and staff can ask the persons age if they think they are under 16.
"It is a good thing, it might hit trade that way, but I would like to think those customers would buy something else.
"We have had one lad get upset about it, but he calmed down after a while."
Sue Lovecy, headteacher at St Martins School, added: “I am so pleased that Keith has managed to get this ban on sales of energy drinks to under 16s in St Martins.
“As a school we banned these drinks several years ago but students were picking them up en route to school and drinking them for breakfast.
“These drinks pose a serious threat to our children’s health.
“Well done Keith and all the local businesses supporting this initiative.”
Darren Baker, owner of St Martins Petrol Station, said the business was happy to support the initiative.
He said: “We have followed Keith on social media about his concerns about selling high energy drinks to those under the age of 16.
“We are more than happy to support him banning these drinks to children as this is also good for their wellbeing.”
Two of the big four supermarkets, Morrisons and Asda, have agreed to ask for ID when selling drinks with more than 150 mg of caffeine per litre as of March 5.
From March 5, Waitrose will also ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16.
Aldi has also said customers buying energy drinks from any of its UK or Ireland stores may be asked to prove their age from March 1.
An age limit will kick in for all stores nationwide on March 15.
The British Soft Drinks Association said that high caffeine drinks should not be promoted or marketed to those under 16.