LOCHGELLY's Co-op Food store has performed a quick u-turn on the decision to ban under-16s from entering the store after staff "reached the end of their tether".

In two posts published on local Facebook groups on Tuesday night, a message posted by a staff member at the Bank Street shop had stated that as a result of ongoing abuse and anti-social behaviour from youngsters, a ban on anyone aged 16 and under would be implemented with "immediate effect".

The initial post advised parents to, "let your children know that they are no longer welcome".

The Facebook post stated: "This is a message from Co-op on Bank Street.

Due to the recent volume of anti-social behaviour, shoplifting and general abuse towards management and staff. With immediate effect, no under-16s will be allowed entry to the store. The above issues are now in the hands of the police and meetings with both the Lochgelly High School and St Andrews (RC High School) in Kirkcaldy have been organised.

"We have tried to curtail this, however the abuse we receive is totally unacceptable.

"Please let your children know that they are no longer welcome."

Some members of the public were left angered by the decision, and the right to comment on the post within the group was quickly restricted by admins and moderators.

A follow-up post, once again posted by a shop worker, went on to further state the reasons behind the decision to introduce a ban, which included the theft of wheelchairs and trolleys, as well as stock being stolen.

They said: "With regards to the previous post regarding the Co-op.

"If any parent wishes to come down to the store with their child to discuss, then feel free.

"I am not talking about a minority of half a dozen kids here.

"We have had wheelchairs and trolleys taken on 'joyrides' and left all over the town.

"Rubbish left at their backsides, bins overturned, stock stolen.

"Kids thinking we are a playpark by flying round the shop on e-scooters or bikes, putting other customers at risk and they think it is fun to abuse staff when asked to move on.

"We are a shop trying to serve the community through these trying times and still trying to socially distance!

"So yes, I get some are aggrieved at the previous post.

"However we wouldn't be in the current situation if these 'kids' acted in a reasonable manner."

The Times contacted the Co-op for comment on the matter, with a spokesperson stating that the ban was no longer in place.

“Following a spate of anti-social behaviour and abuse, the store team locally reached the end of their tether and introduced a temporary measure to ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping environment for colleagues and customers," they said.

"Everyone is now welcome in the store."

Co-op has campaigned for over three years for greater protection in law for shopworkers, to send out a clear message that abuse and anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and, should not be part of the job.

Last year, Scotland passed new laws aimed at protecting retail workers from abuse as they go about their job serving the community.