A shop has apologised for a "misunderstanding" of the law which led to staff refusing to serve a uniformed soldier with cigarettes.
Management at Alpha News in the Hardshaw Centre, St Helens posted notices at its store after a complaint by the soldier on Facebook spread like wildfire.
The social media message led to a group of protestors gathering in the shopping centre this morning trying to persuade shoppers not to buy anything from the store.
Police were stationed outside the shop in an attempt to defuse the row and quell any potential disorder.It seems people aren't prepared to put up with this sort of thing any more.
The shop's Indian owner later apologised, insisting that staff had believed cigarettes could not be sold to soldiers wearing military uniform.A likely story!
Police, meanwhile, warned they are investigating whether any of follow up comments made on social media about the shop constitute a criminal offence under the Malicious Communications and Public Order Acts.Wait, what? Has the shop owner complained?
"Although police have not received a report of complaint from the shop, a full investigation into the wider comments being made is underway by the SIGMA team in St Helens.
"Police are looking into whether any of these comments constitute a criminal offence under the Malicious Communications and Public Order Acts.Gosh, amazing how you suddenly have time to spare, eh?
"Merseyside Police will continue to use all the available technology and expertise at its disposal to identify people who commit offences on-line and take action under the current laws.
"People should stop and think on social media before making statements as the consequences could be serious.
"High visibility patrols have been stepped up in the area to reassure local businesses and shoppers. "As James Higham pointed out at 'Orphans', "Police received no complaints but they’re going to nail someone British if it’s the last thing they do."...