Stowmarket: Christmas crackers deemed ‘explosive’

A MOTHER has been left stunned after a shop assistant refused to accept a box of crackers from her six-year-old daughter because she could not sell “explosives” to a child.

Lisa Innes, 36, from Buxhall, was with her young daughter Tia-Rose when the strange incident took place at the QD store in nearby Stowmarket on Thursday.

They both had several items they had picked from the shelves and when they reached the check-out desk, little Tia-Rose went to hand a box of Christmas crackers to the assistant.

But to Mrs Innes’s shock, she refused to accept the item unless it was passed to her by an adult, claiming she could not sell “explosives” to a child.

Mrs Innes said: “Tia-Rose asked if she could hold the crackers I was going to buy and I said ‘yes’ as I didn’t see an issue. We walked around the shop a few times but when we got to the till the lady told me that I was breaking the law. She said that she couldn’t take them from Tia-Rose as she was under 16 and they are classed as explosives – even though it was clear to everyone, except the lady, that Tia-Rose wasn’t paying for them, I was. She still refused to take them from her.

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“I was really shocked and my son Brandon was speechless, and that doesn’t happen an awful lot.”

Mrs Innes lives with husband Norman, little Tia-Rose, older daughter Jessica, 12, and Brandon, 15.

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She said that the whole “bizarre” episode was a sad indication of the “nanny state” and had left her little girl very upset.

She added: “I have to say it upset Tia-Rose so much for two reasons. Firstly, she thought that she couldn’t have a Christmas cracker on Christmas day.

“Secondly, she also thought that, as the lady said, I had broken the law and that I was going to get sent to prison – she was inconsolable.

“I wish stores would think before saying such things to parents with young children around.”

Last night a QD Stores spokesman defended the assistant’s actions and said the crackers, along with knives and fireworks, were restricted items.

He said: “This item is designated as an age-related sale due to the snap inside the cracker. It’s trading standards legislation that such purchases cannot be sold to a person under 18 and in this case we couldn’t sell them to a child.”

He acknowledged that the child was not actually making the purchase, but explained that the assistant could not be seen to accept the item from Tia-Rose.

He added: “Sales assistants and companies can incur very heavy fines in these cases.”

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