Welsh police threatened to fine customers who went to a farm shop to buy their milk, telling them they should get it from a supermarket instead.
Officers turned people away from a milk vending machine set up in Berthengam, near Holywell in Flintshire, Wales, after a dairy farm noticed supermarkets struggled to meet the demand for dairy during lockdown.
The unmanned roadside machine was set up at the beginning of the year and is open 24 hours a day, providing fresh dairy milk is sold in bottles, along with flavoured milk shakes and hot chocolate.
On Monday, customers complained to owners Einion and Elliw Jones that they had been told to leave by the police, Metro reports.
Customers were turned away by Welsh police at a roadside milk vending machine. Dairy farmers Elliw and Einion Jones with their children Elin (7), Gwenni (5), Magi (3) and 18 month old Penri
Customers complained to the owners of the unmanned roadside machine in Berthengam, near Holywell in Flintshire, Wales, (pictured) after they were asked to leave
After they were informed they looked over CCTV footage from the machine and Mrs Jones said there were at least five households there.
Customers had been dispersed from the shed, which is outdoors and the owners claim is well-ventilated, within six minutes of the officers turning up.
Mrs Jones contacted the police and was told that their customers should be getting what they need from a supermarket or their nearest shop.
She said: ‘I feel the police should be working with us as a new business and not driving all our customers to supermarkets.
‘Are they standing outside butchers shops telling people they should buy their steaks from Tesco?’
One customer said she was threatened with a £60 fine if she would not leave. She had travelled from Trelawyndd, roughly a five to ten minute drive, to get full-fat milk for her son.
Her village does not have its own shop and her disabled son is lactose intolerant.
Despite explaining her circumstances to the police, she says she was still told to leave and did so to avoid the fine.
After owners Einion (pictured) and Elliw Jones were informed they looked over CCTV footage from the machine to see customers being turned away within six minutes of the police getting there
Mrs Jones (pictured) contacted the police and was told that their customers should be getting what they need from a supermarket or their nearest shop.
North Wales Police has been approached for comment.
Einion and Elliw Jones’ machine is believed to be one of the first of its kind in North Wales, and the Joneses have been astounded by its success.
They have a 280-strong herd of Jersey-cross milking cows on their farm at Mynydd Mostyn, which is on the Mostyn Hall estate and most of the milk goes to South Caernarfon Creamery.
‘We first considered having a machine about two years ago but did nothing about, and then in June last year we looked into it in more detail,’ said Elliw.
‘During the pandemic more people have been trying to buy local produce, and so we thought it would be a good time.
‘It’s been amazing. The coffee and hot chocolate machine has been here a while and people have got to hear about it through Facebook,’ she said. ‘On the day we started selling milk people were queuing from 10am until 9 o’clock at night.’
‘People really seem to appreciate it because it is so fresh, unlike some of the milk on sale in supermarkets,’ added Einion.
Full milk and semi-skinned is available and is supplied in glass bottles which are returnable. Payment is by card, so the facility does not have to be manned.
Residents of neighbouring villages including Berthengam, Trelogan, Sarn and Whitford walk along the country lanes or across fields to reach Mynydd Mostyn, while there is also a steady flow of traffic.
The machine, which is available 24 hours a day, is believed to be one of the first of its kind in North Wales,
Wendy Williams on Gracie (left) and Laura Hafwen Jones on Ted having a hot chocolate at Mynydd Mostyn Dairy farm in the first week of January
Sara Bevan and her daughter Charley, 15, from Flint, were among those spotted queuing at the machine in the first week of January and they considered it worth the wait.
‘I was brought up in Trelogan and I felt we should support a local business,’ said Sara.
‘It’s the best milkshake I’ve ever had,’ added Charley.
And friends Wendy Williams and Laura Hafwen Jones stopped by on their horses to enjoy cups of piping hot chocolate before continuing their ride.
Wendy said: ‘It’s gorgeous, and nice to have somewhere like this to pop into.’
Elsewhere, Will Lambourne runs Townsend Farm in Marsh Gibbon, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, with his father Adrian and brother Joel.
Mr Lambourne and his wife Abi came up with the idea to sell directly to consumers.
They now have hundreds of customers a week, with people travelling from neighbouring towns and villages to get their milk and flavoured shakes.
Will Lambourne and his wife Abi run Townsend Farm in Marsh Gibbon, near Bicester in Oxfordshire. They are now selling hundreds of bottles of fresh milk a day from their vending machines
The Lambournes sell pasturised milk from their vending machine which is in operation seven days a week, from 7am until 7pm
The Lambournes sell pasteurized milk from vending machines which are in operation seven days a week, from 7am until 7pm. Customers are able to take along their own bottles or purchase glass bottles from the farm.
And anyone looking to sweeten up their purchase can turn it into milkshake with 12 flavours available; from gingerbread, salted caramel and butterscotch, to candyfloss.
Mr Lambourne told MailOnline that he and his wife Abi had the idea to sell milk during the first lockdown, and in the first week of January they were serving more than 100 customers a day at The Milk Churn at Townsend Farm.
He said: ‘It seemed so obvious while there was a shortage at supermarkets.
‘There was an opportunity to help the community and serve directly to the consumer. There was also a desire for people to shop local, especially in such a rural area.
‘As farmers we have to accept that we need to do more for the environment so we use glass bottles, with milk going straight from the farm to the customers’ fridge.
Customers are able to take along their own bottles or purchase glass bottles from Townsend Farm
Will and Abi Lambourne also offer 12 milkshake syrups including chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, gingerbread, butterscotch, coffee, mint chocolate, Hob Nob and candyfloss
‘It has gone really well so far and we’ve also started doing milkshakes which has really taken off.’
The village, which is just outside Bicester, is some six miles from the nearest shop so business is booming for the Lambourne family.
They sell fresh eggs alongside the milk and are looking to expand, with potential plans for a farmshop in the pipeline.
Mr Lambourne added: ‘These are staple foods that everyone needs, and it also helps people avoid going into busy towns or supermarkets, where Covid is prevalent.
‘We get a lot of comments about the quality of our milk, which is gently treated. And people are loving our milkshakes – with some customers coming back for several bottles at a time.
‘People are asking us to make bread and run a farm shop so we’re looking at whether it’s financially viable.’