Bangor honesty shop shut after some visitors help themselves
An 'honesty shop' at the Clandeboye Estate has been forced to close because unscrupulous visitors have been helping themselves to large amounts of yoghurt and eggs.
The Bangor estate, home of Lady Dufferin, the Marchioness of Ava and Dufferin, has had an unstaffed 'shop' for 12 years with a viewing window onto the milking parlour.
The room was stocked with popular Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt and other produce with an honesty box that patrons could place money in before taking goods home.
But now they have been forced to shut its doors after seeing a rise in dishonesty, making an announcement on social media which has been met with huge disappointment to regulars.
Bryan Boggs, the estate general manager, said: "It's with regret that we're doing it. It's a very small number of people we believe that are taking advantage of it; the vast majority of people are totally honest and were using it exactly as it should be.
"It seems to be literally single figures of people who are taking advantage of it rather than a lot of people. We had discussed other options, CCTV and things, but that takes away from the ethos of the thing, plus it's very difficult to do. People can make it look like they are dropping money in a box.
"We liked this as a way of feeling part of the community and we had such regular customers in every morning for their yoghurt and eggs - it had been a pleasing aspect of the business. We very much appreciate the support we've been shown and all the messages we've received on social media."
Bryan said it has been going on over the past 12 months and they suspect those responsible could be selling it elsewhere as the volume taken would be more than for personal use.
Fans of the products will still be able to purchase them in independent stores like McKee's Country store, Indie Foods and Homegrown in Ards, as well as the big supermarkets like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's.
Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt said: "Unfortunately, although most of our loyal customers were totally honest, we were finding more and more visitors taking advantage and not being totally honest. It is disappointing that the few spoil things for the majority."