Anglesey man arrested for tearing down non-essential items barrier in Tesco

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Photo credit: Steve Daniels (CC BY-SA 4.0)

A man has been charged with criminal damage and contravening Coronavirus regulations in Bangor’s Tesco Extra.

Gwilym Owen, from Angelsey, tore down the plastic coverings of non-essential items following a new regulation which limited the types of items which can be sold in supermarkets. 

Seen in a Facebook video, the maskless Mr Owen calls the new measures a ‘disgrace’ as he protests them. Following the incident, North Wales Police arrested and charged Mr Owen. He is scheduled to attend Caernarfon Crown Court on November 24th.

Last week, the Welsh Government announced that supermarkets were to limit the products sold at their stores, with them being “cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public”. Under the new rules, items such as electrical goods, clothes, homeware and phones are unable to be sold.

The restrictions are in place during the firebreak lockdown, which started at 6pm last Friday and continues until November 9.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford mentions the regulations in a recent tweet:

“Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of shop that isn’t required to close. In the meantime, please only leave home if you need to.”

The policy was introduced in order to reduce the amount of unnecessary time people spend in stores and to be fair to those who are having to close their doors until after the firebreak. It was confirmed on Thursday, October 23rd, giving supermarkets just 24 hours to prepare for the new rules.

The new regulations have sparked confusion and criticism, with a petition – ‘Allow supermarkets to sell “non-essential” items during lockdown’ – being signed more than 60,000 times as the regulation has been deemed ‘disproportionate’ and ‘cruel’.

Mark Drakeford has also responded to some of the criticism and growing appeal against the non-essential item coverings, specifically clothing.

“I won’t need — I don’t think — to buy clothing over these two weeks and I think many, many people in Wales will be in that position too,”

For me, it won’t be essential. But I recognise that there will be some people who for entirely unexpected reasons which they couldn’t have foreseen will need to buy items.

“In those circumstances where those welfare reasons are at stake, we will make sure that our supermarkets understand they have the discretion to apply the rules differently.”

Another man has been recorded on YouTube appearing in a supermarket wearing only underwear and a mask, in response to the ruling of clothes being non-essential. Before entering the supermarket, he was told to leave.

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