Angry shopper tears down barricades to children's clothing in Wales

24 October 2020, 17:01 | Updated: 25 October 2020, 08:36

Shopper tears out barricades to children's clothing in Wales

By Kate Buck

This is the moment an angry shopper in Wales tore down the covers over children's clothes in a Welsh supermarket after a shops were barred from selling 'non-essential' items.

The man has since been charged with criminal damage and breaking coronavirus rules.

Gwilym Owen said he was "taking a stand for what is right" when he ripped the plastic wrapping off winter clothes in Tesco, Bangor.

Wales was yesterday plunged into a 17-day 'fire-break lockdown, aimed at curbing the rising cases of coronavirus.

As part of the rules, the Welsh government have ruled that all non-essential shops must close, and supermarkets have been barred from selling any items which are not deemed essential.

But Mr Own, who was not wearing a mask in the store, said he "had enough" over the new rules, and didn't care about the backlash he may receive.

In a post on Facebook he said: "Last night I heard supermarkets have put covers over 'non essential' things such as clothes.

Gwilym Owen said he was "taking a stand for what is right" when he ripped the plastic wrapping off winter clothes in Tesco, Bangor
Gwilym Owen said he was "taking a stand for what is right" when he ripped the plastic wrapping off winter clothes in Tesco, Bangor. Picture: Gwilym Owen

"We're heading into winter now and who would have thought clothes for children weren't essential? I'm sure there are people out there who can barely afford heating in their houses and now they want to stop people buying clothes in supermarkets.

"I don't expect everyone to do what I've done here but I do expect everyone to know that denying the public clothing is nothing but immoral and inhuman. So no I'm not ashamed of what I've done.

Read more: Welsh supermarkets cover 'non-essential items' as firebreaker lockdown begins

"The government is corrupt, but what's more damaging to society is the fact that people are not standing up against this machine. I ask everyone can we all wake up and have a backbone and not let this tyranny run for any longer? Things will only get worse If we do not make any effort in stopping this madness.

"I'm not prepared to live in a society where they can take basic human needs away like being able to buy new clothes, especially for children. So I'll do what I can to stop it. I've had it up to my tether with what's going on and we need more people to take a stand for what is right! This was my stand last night."

The footage showed him being confronted by a staff member, and the person who was filming was also confronted.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: "Under new restrictions set out by the Welsh Government, we are currently unable to sell ''non-essential'' items in our stores.

"Our colleagues have worked hard to put these measures in place and we ask that customers please respect these restrictions."

On Friday afternoon, the Welsh Government issued guidance stating that certain sections or aisles of large supermarkets or department stores "must be cordoned off or emptied, and closed to the public".

These include areas selling electrical goods, telephones, clothes, toys and games, and products for the garden, as well as a dedicated section for homeware products.

Supplies for the "essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household" - such as batteries, lightbulbs and rubber gloves - can be sold during the lockdown.

Shops will be expected to use their "best endeavours" to consider what should be available in cases where there may be doubt as to whether a product is essential, the guidance states.

Mr Drakeford said: "We are requiring many hundreds of small businesses to close on the high street right across Wales."We cannot do that and then allow supermarkets to sell goods that those people are unable to sell.

"And we are looking to minimise the amount of time that people spend out of their homes during this two-week period."This is not the time to be browsing around supermarkets looking for non-essential goods."

Mr Drakeford said trying to find exceptions to the rules was "just the wrong" approach and called on people in Wales to not use the firebreak to do things that they do not have to.

"It is a straightforward matter of fairness - we are in this together here in Wales."