POLICE have urged shop owners to not sell staples such as eggs and flour to young people in the run-up to Hallowe'en.

Officers are asking if the sale of these items can be stalled in the coming weeks to help prevent antisocial behaviour.

They have even issued posters for retailers encouraging them not to sell the items to young people as they have historically been used in an anti-social way.

In the past people have thrown messy foodstuffs in the streets and at homes, people and cars – and it is members of the public and official agencies that are left having to clean up.

Officers are hoping by doing this it can be prevented.

The posters form part of Operation Roman Candle which is discouraging retailers from selling the items to youngsters over the October half term.

Part of this operation will also involve test purchasers going into stores to buy fireworks. Retailers are also reminded that these must not be sold to people under the age of 18.

Hoping to reduce this type of nuisance is Sergeant Adrian Dobson, who said: “Operation Roman Candle is an operation designed at countering potential increases in anti-social behaviour (ASB) and disorder.

“It has historically run for a two week period covering the October half term, Halloween and the week of Bonfire night. This year the dates run between October 24 and November 8.

“Eggs and flour have traditionally be used in instances of ASB during this period.

“Last year a similar tactic was used with local vendors and this demonstrated a reduction in reports received involving these items.

“Concerns also regularly occur around youths using fireworks. It is illegal to sell adult fireworks to persons aged under 18 and we are planning to carry out test purchasing over this period to see that they are complying with relevant legislation.

“We will be working closely with partner agencies such as councils and housing providers.”

The Nisa Store in Copeland is backing the campaign. Its manager said: “We do this every year – our staff have training for this and are reminded not to sell the items to young people.

“It’s a really good idea. It stops having to clean it all up.”