Police have cleared customers queuing to buy milk from a farm shop vending machine after warning them they could be fined for breaching coronavirus rules, it has been reported.
People in line to purchase milk last Monday at the Mynydd Mostyn facility in Flintshire, Wales, were threatened with COVID-19 fines unless they left immediately, according to the Daily Post.
The owners said customers were cleared from the site within six minutes.
Dairy farmers Einion and Elliw Jones, who operate the vending machines, said police visit the site most days, often on multiple occasions, and that officers are supportive.
However, they insisted customers were observing social distancing measures during last week’s spot-check, which they claimed was over-zealous.
“Afterwards we received several complaints from local customers about their treatment,” said Ms Jones.
“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.
Watch: Hundreds caught at illegal London rave as police hand out fines
“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.
I feel the police should be working with us as a new business and not driving all our customers to supermarkets.”
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.
A fourth “farm shop” machine sells local food products such as eggs, cheese and preserves. The machines are available 24 hours a day.
One mother who was turned away by police last Monday evening was a mother trying to buy milk for her lactose-intolerant child, it was reported.
Another mother told to leave, who did not wish to be named, 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 milk just wouldn’t work for us. I told him [the officer] 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.”
The car park at the site has expanded from five spaces to 15 following a surge of interest since it opened.
Police officers have made regular visits to offer advice on social distancing and to ensure customers are from the local area.
“My customers tell me they feel much safer queuing outside here than they do in supermarkets,” said Ms Jones.
“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.”
Watch: What you can and can't do during England's lockdown