Police 'threaten to fine' families buying milk from farm shop

Families hoping to buy milk from a 24-hour vending site in Flintshire, Wales, say they were turned away by police officers who advised them to go to a supermarket instead.

Mynydd Mostyn, a farm on the Mostyn Hall estate at Trelogan, opened their vending site on New Year’s Day, allowing customers to cashlessly access items such as milk, coffee, eggs and cheese through the machines.

On Monday, dairy farmers Einion and Elliw Jones received complaints from customers who said they had been turned away by ‘overzealous’ police officers and threatened with fines.

The pair then watched the incident back on CCTV and saw that their customers had been cleared from the area within six minutes of the police arriving.

Elliw said: ‘At the time there were at least five households at the site, possibly
more, and they were just stocking up on provisions.

‘I later contacted the officer who explained people should be buying what they need at their weekly shop in a supermarket or nearest shop. He said they should get their milk from there.’

Elliw added: ‘I feel the police should be working with us as a new business and not driving all our customers to supermarkets. Are they standing outside butchers shops telling people they should buy their steaks from Tesco?

‘Are they standing at the entrance to Tesco checking where their customers are from?’

Among those turned away on Monday evening was a parent looking to buy milk for their lactose-intolerant child, a customer from Trelawnydd, which lacks its own shop, and the mother of a disabled boy who needs to have full-fat milk.

Describing the incident, the customer said: ‘The police said that if I wasn’t out on my daily exercise then I would have to leave or I would receive a £60 fine.

‘The most annoying thing is I did actually need the blue milk as my son is disabled. He is on a high-calorie diet, so green (semi-skimmed) milk just wouldn’t work for us.

‘I told him the Mostyn shop had no blue milk but he still said I had to leave. I was very angry at the situation but I left because I didn’t want the fine.’

Elliw is keen to get clarification on what is allowed under the lockdown rules. The Welsh Government says shoppers shouldn’t travel to buy an item if they can get it closer to home.

The farmers also say their shed is open at the front and well-ventilated, with customers often stating that they feel safer there than queuing at a supermarket.

In a statement, North Wales Police confirmed that milk is an ‘essential item’. A spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of the farm and that it is working with Flintshire County Council to ensure they are Covid compliant around queuing and social distancing.’

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