Police threaten to fine customers buying milk from farm shop

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Families hoping to buy milk from a local vending site have condemned police who told them to go to a supermarket instead.

Police emptied the Mynydd Mostyn facility in Clwyd within six minutes, threatening customers with Covid fines unless they left immediately.

The incident was criticised by dairy farmers Einion and Elliw Jones, who said social distancing measures were followed and that customers were from neighbouring villages, reported NorthWalesLive.

However, they applauded a previous police visit, just days earlier, which saw warnings handed out to a large group of boisterous youths from outside the area.

Elliw said police visited the site most days, sometimes on multiple occasions, and officers were supportive and helpful.

But she accused last Monday’s spot-check of being excessive and based on an over-zealous interpretation of the rules.



Einion and Elliw Jones of Mynydd Mostyn Dairy



The car park has been expanded and a fifth vending machine is on order to cope with the demand for local produce

“Afterwards we received several complaints from local customers about their treatment,” said Elliw.

“So we watched the incident back on CCTV and saw that an officer cleared the area within six minutes.

“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?”

The vending site was opened on New Year’s Day at Mynydd Mostyn, a farm on the Mostyn Hall estate at Trelogan, near Holywell.

A new shed contains three cashless vending machines offering bottled milk, milkshakes, coffee and hot chocolate.



Vending machines are cashless to that customers can visit at any time of the day



Dairy products by the business

A fourth “farm shop” machine vends local food products such as eggs, cheese and preserves. The machines are available 24 hours-a-day.

Among those turned away on Monday evening was a mother looking to buy milk for her lactose-intolerant child.

Another was a customer from nearby Trelawnydd, which lacks its own shop.

Also given her marching orders was a mum-of-three from Mostyn, which does have its own shop – but which doesn’t supply the full fat (blue) milk she needs for her son.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

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An initial surge of interest in the venture saw long queues build up at the site. Already its car park has been expanded from five to 15 spaces.

Visiting police officers have offered tips on social distancing and have ensured the site has adequate safety signs.

They also check vehicle registrations to ensure owners are local.

“The shed is open at the front and is well-ventilated,” said Elliw.

“My customers tell me they feel much safer queuing outside here than they do in supermarkets.

“We get almost daily visits from the police and they have been excellent, really helpful. We’ve just had an issue on the one occasion.”

In a statement, North Wales Police  confirmed milk is an “essential item”.

A spokesperson added: “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.”

Elliw is keen to get clarification on what is allowed – and what isn’t – under lockdown rules.

The Welsh Government  says shoppers should not travel to buy, say, a bottle of milk, if they can get the same product closer to home.

“But does this mean that if I go to Tesco, can I call at the Co-op on the way for a different product?” she said.

“And what about outlets such as ours? We are not competing with supermarkets because we are offering a very different type and quality of milk.”

Last Friday night Einion and Elliw were alerted to another incident by a Facebook message.

Mr Jones went to the vending site at 10.30pm where he saw police with a group of 20-25 young people, believed to be from the Rhyl area.

He believes fines were issued but North Wales Police was unable to confirm what action, if any, was taken.

Whatever the outcome, Elliw applauded the officers for dispersing the group.

“We wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it by ourselves,” she said.



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