Asda bans egg sales to teens for a yob-free Hallowe'en

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The Independent Online

Police warnings that this year's Hallowe'en will be the most violent and destructive ever have prompted Asda, Britain's second-largest supermarket chain, to take the extraordinary step of banning teenagers from buying eggs, commonly used as trick or treat missiles.

Police warnings that this year's Hallowe'en will be the most violent and destructive ever have prompted Asda, Britain's second-largest supermarket chain, to take the extraordinary step of banning teenagers from buying eggs, commonly used as trick or treat missiles.

Gangs of children and teenagers now regard the two-week run-up to Hallowe'en as an excuse for widespread "yobbery and nastiness", according to police who will this week start an unprecedented seasonal crackdown.

Traditionally known as a night of harmless mischief, Hallowe'en has become a focus of mayhem, particularly in urban areas.

Eggs, flour, paint and even fireworks are thrown at cars and houses. Last year, two men died and a woman was badly beaten in Hallowe'en-related incidents.

Police forces will be urging shopkeepers not to sell eggs, flour or paint to teenagers. Nightly patrols in known trouble spots will also take place and more officers will be on the streets.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire police said: "It started out many years ago with loveable pranks, but now it's become an excuse for yobbery and nastiness."

Those teenagers caught taking trick or treating to extremes will be faced with the prospect of anti-social behaviour orders and possible court appearances. Although the other big supermarket chains have decided against banning the sale of eggs to youngsters, Sainsbury's and Tesco will be looking out for potential troublemakers.

Asda has decided to introduce the ban after complaints from customers last year that youngsters were buying trays of eggs before throwing them at people in the streets.

An Asda spokesperson said: "This time we won't be selling eggs to children under 16. Obviously, we'll use our discretion: if they're also buying bacon and a loaf of bread then we won't stop them."

Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, who, with her elderly mother, has been also on the receiving end of violent trick or treaters, welcomed Asda's move. "It is sad that it's come to that, but it is sensible," she said.

"Hallowe'en undeniably has changed. There are children who go trick or treating in the normal way. But it is now used as a means for young people to intimidate people for money. It can be very frightening for the elderly."

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