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KFC in Sittingbourne bans teens from store at weekends after rise in anti-social behaviour

Youngsters in a town rife with anti-social behaviour are being forced to show their ID at a KFC.

A mum has been left disgusted after learning those who are under 18 and unaccompanied by legal guardians are not being allowed into the store by age-checking security guards at the fast food chain on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

KFC in Sittingbourne. Picture: Joe Crossley
KFC in Sittingbourne. Picture: Joe Crossley

A worker from the Sittingbourne fried chicken restaurant confirmed that from 4pm on a Friday and from midday on weekends children will be ID’d on the door to check they’re a legal adult.

Although there are no signs up enforcing this rule the worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have to have security here as there are problems with the kids.”

Mum-of-five, Kayleigh Trimmings, was taking her children for a takeaway treat over the weekend when she witnessed her 17-year-old son, Tyler Atkins, get asked for ID by a security guard on the door.

The 34-year-old from Woodberry Drive in Murston said: “There was a group of kids outside the restaurant just hanging around, not actually going into the restaurant. I didn’t think anything of it as there are always loads of kids in the area.

“My son had walked ahead and went to enter KFC before me as I had the other children. The security guard thought Tyler was on his own and asked for his ID.

Kayleigh Trimmings and her son, Tyler Atkins, 17, from Woodberry Drive, Sittingbourne. Picture: Kayleigh Trimmings
Kayleigh Trimmings and her son, Tyler Atkins, 17, from Woodberry Drive, Sittingbourne. Picture: Kayleigh Trimmings

“Tyler had to show him his citizen card and because he was under 18 the security guard wouldn’t let him in until he realised he was with me.”

When Kayleigh was inside ordering her food she witnessed the security guard turn away a young couple she believes were also 17.

The mum continued: “Since when did people get ID’d for a franchise?

“McDonald’s next door wasn’t doing it. I think it’s disgusting.

“It’s stopping kids from getting their food or weekend treat. I know there is anti-social behaviour in the town but it isn’t all youngsters.

“How is it fair that innocent kids under 18 are getting turned away? Why can’t the KFC security guard just let two or three in at a time like other shops are doing in the area?”

A KFC Spokesperson said: “Safety has always been our top priority and we simply do not tolerate any violence towards our guests or team members.

“Our Sittingbourne restaurant has seen some recent behaviour from guests that the Colonel wouldn’t be proud of and so for the time being any under 18’s visiting on weekdays from 4pm, and weekends from 12pm must be accompanied by an adult.”

It is believed the strict rules are in place following a rise in anti-social behaviour which has plagued the town over the last few months.

In May, police issued a dispersal order across the high street and the town’s retail park – where KFC is located.

It came just a few months after Sittingbourne’s Morrisons was forced to bring in CCTV to deal with anti-social youths.

Police have issued dispersal orders following a rise in anti-social behaviour in Sittingbourne. Stock Image
Police have issued dispersal orders following a rise in anti-social behaviour in Sittingbourne. Stock Image

On multiple occasions, youngsters were abusive to staff and had even started fires on the site.

In June more anti-social behaviour forced police to issue a second dispersal order.

With youngsters causing havoc across the town, with some even using water guns in Greggs, traders feared people would be put off going to the high street completely.

Speaking on KFC’s ID policy one high street newsagent, who did not want to named over fears of being targeted by the yobs, said: “It’s not a surprise. Lots of the big retailers around here are having problems with kids because of a lack of discipline.

“They aren’t scared of the repercussions.”

Last month Vishal Wadhwa, who owns Trade Counter in Sittingbourne High Street, was criticised after he stated he would continue to sell replica guns in his store despite calls urging them to be banned due to the increase in anti-social behaviour in the town.

Although his products have not changed Mr Wadhwa did confirm today that staff at the store have started to wear body cams due to the town’s youths.

Police inspector Vanessa Foster, from Swale’s Neighbourhood Task Force, said: “Anti-social behaviour is often caused by a small group of people but we understand the impact it can have on a community.

“Recently we have seen an increase in reports of this type of behaviour in Swale, and most significantly from Sittingbourne High Street.

“As a response to this we have taken proactive steps in addressing the issue, including implementing dispersal orders and visiting schools to talk directly to students.

“Officers have seized bicycles, catapults and e-scooters and those identified as causing ASB have been spoken to directly, along with their guardian, to ensure a positive outcome.

“We are continuing our work with partner agencies and local stakeholders to address these concerns and to ensure local businesses understand their responsibilities and how we can best assist them. We also have direct contact with the council’s CCTV control room to ensure we are aware of any issues first hand, allowing us to quickly respond if appropriate.

“Dedicated patrols have ensured a visible police presence in the area and this will continue. Beat officers are a single point of contact for communities where residents can raise issues which are affecting them and these officers will respond appropriately and will escalate these reports if required.

“Anybody who wishes to report instances of anti-social behaviour should report it online via the Kent Police website. If a crime is in progress, please don’t hesitate to call 999.”

Are you a shop owner in Sittingbourne? Has your store been targeted by anti-social behaviour? What steps have you had to take to keep your business safe? Send your experiences to SittingbourneKM@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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