Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:31 UK

Youths banned from buying ketchup

Police notice
Police asked supermarkets to challenge youths buying ketchup

Supermarkets have banned sales of eggs and tomato ketchup to young people in a bid to cut anti-social behaviour.

About a dozen residents in the Charles Close area of Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, have reported tomato sauce being squirted at cars and homes.

Norfolk Police asked supermarkets in the town to challenge youths trying to buy sauces in squirty bottles or eggs.

Sgt Andy Brown said no more complaints had been received in the past two weeks since the agreement came into force.

'A bit daft'

Sgt Brown said squirting ketchup was not a criminal act but it could be possible to bring charges of criminal damage if paintwork was damaged on homes or vehicles.

He said: "We had about a dozen complaints from residents, some of them elderly, about people squirting ketchup over doors, windows and vehicles.

"One of the ways we have looked at tackling that is to speak to local schools and businesses to get them to agree to not sell tomato ketchup to young people.

"I know it sounds a bit daft, but it has made a difference because we have had no more reported incidents since the supermarkets came on board with this."

Martin Bailie, from Lidl supermarkets, said staff from its Caister branch became aware of a problem before police asked them for help.

"Our staff were challenging youngsters who were trying to bulk buy these things.

"It is anti-social behaviour and it was getting out of hand.

"It wasn't that we haven't been selling eggs and ketchup to youths, but have been careful about who we have sold them to, and we are glad it has been making a difference."

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