Secondary school pupils banned from a supermarket after a spate of thefts

Lidle in St Neots

Lidle in St Neots - Credit: Archant

School pupils have been banned from a supermarket in St Neots after a spate of shop-lifting offences.

The Lidl store, in Cambridge Street, has confirmed the decision to bar students from Longsands Academy, who are wearing uniform, was made in conjunction with police community support officers and the school.

In a statement, Lidl said: Following a number of recent shoplifting incidents involving students, a joint decision has been made with the local community officer and Longsands Academy, to stop students in uniform, who are unaccompanied by an adult. We would like to thank the community for their support and cooperation.”

A letter sent out by the school has angered some parents after it stated that all pupils wearing Longsands uniform would be prevented from entering the store, including those with parents. Lidl has now confirmed that it will “welcome students in uniform, if they are accompanied by an adult”.

One parent described the “knee-jerk” decision to ban all pupils as “disgusting” and raised concerns about the legalities of the situation.

“I think they are treading a fine line here, legally they are not doing anything wrong, but if they attempt to remove students from the store they could be in some difficulty. The problem with a blanket ban like this is that it labels all students as thieves.”

Lidl has said if pupils in uniform come into the store they will be asked to leave by staf. The decision will be reviewed at the end of term.

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Longsands headteacher, Martin Paine, said: “Following a small number of incidents of theft from Lidl, the store contacted us to state that they intended to impose a short-term ban on Longsands students. We have worked with the store and the police to identify individuals and take appropriate action. We are talking about a handful of individuals from a student population of more than 1800 and would like to make clear that the vast majority of Longsands students uphold the law and our own set of values.”

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