Tuesday January 23rd, 2007 informationliberation.com
Store bans a boy of two for wearing his 'hoodie' (This is London)
Possible thief or little boy wrapped up against the cold?

A boy has been banned from a shop because he was wearing a hood - at the age of two.

Jay Cowper was muffled up against the cold but he and his grandfather were told they had to leave their local store.

The same shop in York recently banned a middle-aged nurse for wearing a hooded top when she went to collect her morning newspaper.

Staff at Monkton Road Stores say they have a clear "no hoods" policy because of problems caused by troublemakers.

But Jay's grandmother Brenda Cowper said the ban was "laughable". She added: "I can understand their point, because there are a lot of kids who cause trouble down there, but when it's a two-year-old it's a bit pathetic."

Mrs Cowper, 54, a care assistant at York Hospital, said her husband took their grandson to the shop at about 7pm on Friday.

The shop, which serves the well-to-do Huntington area of York, is only a five-minute walk from the family home but it was a cold and windy night so Jay was wrapped up in a brown Next jacket with a furry hood.

Mrs Cowper said: "No sooner had they got inside than the shopkeeper said to my husband, 'Could you ask the little boy to remove his hood?'

"My husband said, 'He's only two and ahalf, I don't think he's going to rob you!'"

Mr Cowper, 51, refused on principle to take Jay's hood down and left the shop. He then had to drive to another shop, a Spar, to buy his cigarettes.

Mrs Cowper said: "My husband didn't make a scene at the time. He just left the shop straight away on principle. It's all right for us because we've got a car and we won't be going back.

"But there's a lot of old people round there who refuse to go because of this attitude and it's making life hard for them."

Jay Cowper's mother, Laura Cowper, 22, said she could not believe her well-behaved son had been banned for wearing a hoodie.

She said: "It's absolutely ridiculous. Besides anything else Jay is a very quiet little boy. It's not even like he was running round the shop or anything.

"He's just a normal little boy who's never much of a bother. I've even heard of very old ladies with their heads covered being turned away. All right, keep an eye out for young hooligans, but don't turn away good people like us."

Last November, the store refused to serve Lorraine Robinson, 47, a nurse who has used the shop for 40 years.

On that occasion staff at the shop said "no hoods" notices were clearly displayed and that the rules applied to everyone.

This time, a middle-aged man in the shop identified himself as the owner but declined to make any comment.

Hoodies first made headlines in 2005 when Bluewater shopping centre in Kent imposed a complete ban on wearers.