‘Bongs’ off sale af­ter anger

Cynon Valley - - FRONT PAGE - TOM HOUGHTON tom.houghton@waleson­line.co.uk

A CON­VE­NIENCE store in Aber­dare that was sell­ing bongs and “drug para­pher­na­lia” has re­moved them from shelves af­ter an an­gry reaction from mem­bers of the pub­lic.

A CON­VE­NIENCE store sell­ing bongs and “drug para­pher­na­lia” in a Val­leys town has sparked out­rage.

The Fam­ily Shop­per in Aber­dare sells ev­ery­thing you would ex­pect to see in a lo­cal newsagents or off li­cence, un­til you reach the till, where cus­tomers were re­cently faced with a va­ri­ety of bongs of dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes.

Lo­cal Church in Wales chap­lain Lance Sharpe said he was “dis­gusted” when he went in the shop on Canon Street last week and saw them.

“I was in Aber­dare with the chil­dren. I just went in there to get a drink and as I walked up to the counter I looked up and saw them there. I just couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Mr Sharpe, who is a chap­lain at Mor­ris­ton Hospi­tal in Swansea, added: “I know it’s not il­le­gal to sell them.

“I said to the lady be­hind the counter ‘I can’t be­lieve you’re sell­ing drug para­pher­na­lia’.

“She told me that de­pends what you use it for. I said it’s prob­a­bly not il­le­gal but is it morally right?”

Mr Sharpe said he was con­cerned as he knew from his ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with peo­ple af­fected by drugs that “drugs can ruin peo­ple’s lives”.

He said: “It’s un­be­liev­able that the shop is called Fam­ily Shop­per yet it’s sell­ing such things. I was re­ally dis­gusted by it. They felt like it was not a prob­lem like they were able to sell things like that so openly and freely in a con­ve­nience store.

“You have got chil­dren and all sorts go­ing in and out of there and chil­dren will ask their par­ents ‘what’s that, mummy?’ and the par­ent will have to ex­plain.

“I know they do sell th­ese things in shops in the cities but a con­ve­nience store in Aber­dare is just not the right place. I have never seen any­thing like that be­fore.”

Mr Sharpe, who has lived in Aber­dare for four and a half years, added: “You might be able to use bongs for things like to­bacco, but does any­one re­ally do that?

“Their main use is with il­le­gal drugs. It’s not an or­na­ment that you’re go­ing to put on the man­tle piece is it? It’s aid­ing il­le­gal drug use.

“You can’t com­pare that with sell­ing al­co­hol, which is com­pletely le­gal, I don’t think it’s com­pa­ra­ble.

“I would urge the shop not to sell th­ese items any­more.”

A spokesman for the store said the items were be­ing re­moved from the shelves.

He said: “They are not il­le­gal. They are le­gal to sell for to­bacco use. If some­one uses them for some­thing else that is not our re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“But we are here for the lo­cal com­mu­nity and we would like to work with them so if it’s caused of­fence to some­one we will take them down and com­pletely out of stock.

“We are not sell­ing them any more.”

The Fam­ily Shop­per store on Canon Street, Aber­dare

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