Bamber Bridge mum claims Morrisons is causing shoppers 'migraines' with controversial Mosquito box

Local mum Sarah is boycotting Morrisons due to a controversial policy which has left shoppers with 'banging headaches' and children crying in the aisles.
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Shoppers are complaining of 'agonising migraines' after visiting Morrisons in Bamber Bridge - and one local mum has figured out why.

In recent weeks, people have reported feeling unwell after visiting the supermarket in Station Road. Customers have reported severe headaches, dizzyness and nausea while shopping at the store.

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Sarah Halsall, a mum-of-five, said she was left with an 'killer migraine' after her latest visit to the supermarket. When she approached the store entrance, she was met with a 'deafening' high-pitch ringing in her ears.

"It was so strong I could barely open my eyes," said Sarah. "I had to do a food shop with an absolutely killer migraine. The ringing in my head was so bad I could barely think straight."

Sarah Halsall, a mum-of-five, says she can no longer shop at her local Morrisons supermarket in Bamber Bridge because of the high-pitched sound emitted from a speaker to discourage troublesom youthsSarah Halsall, a mum-of-five, says she can no longer shop at her local Morrisons supermarket in Bamber Bridge because of the high-pitched sound emitted from a speaker to discourage troublesom youths
Sarah Halsall, a mum-of-five, says she can no longer shop at her local Morrisons supermarket in Bamber Bridge because of the high-pitched sound emitted from a speaker to discourage troublesom youths

Alarmed at the piercing ringing in her ears, she spoke to a member of staff who laughed and said "only children are supposed to hear that".

The ringing sound was being pumped out of a 'Mosquito' device - a machine used to deter loitering by emitting sound at high frequency. Nicknamed 'Mosquito' for the annoying buzzing sound it plays, the device is marketed as a safety and security tool to discourage youths from congregating in specific areas, such as outside shops.

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Sarah, a make-up artist and 'meditation healer', returned home with an 'agonising headache'. She says she is concerned about the effect the high-frequency ringing might have on children and those with autism, as well as adults sensitive to the sound.

"When I got home, my head was pounding," said Sarah, who describes herself as 'clairsentient' - meaning she is highly-sensitive to "different kinds of energy" around her.

In fact, Sarah has a special interest in the brain's alpha waves and how certain frequencies can be used to encourage "meditative and creative states". She says certain frequencies - or 'binaural beats' - can help reduce stress, promote positive thinking and increase mental clarity and mindfulness.

But she says certain frequencies can have a negative effect and "send the body into chaotic shock". She is concerned that the device used by Morrisons might be harmful to those who appear tormented by its high-pitched ringing.

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However, Morrisons says the Mosquito device is 'completely safe' and should not be audible to most adults. This is because the ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates in most people by the age of 18.

The controversial device is being used at the Morrisons store in Station Road, Bamber BridgeThe controversial device is being used at the Morrisons store in Station Road, Bamber Bridge
The controversial device is being used at the Morrisons store in Station Road, Bamber Bridge

But Sarah is not convinced and is urging Morrisons to remove the device and take an alternative approach to dealing with troublesome youths.

Sarah added: "People of sensitive hearing and the autism spectrum are directly impacted by these tones. Some parents can't even go to their local supermarket because of this.

"Children have been holding their ears and crying that it’s hurting but the Morrisons branch managers are not listening to the complaints of local families.

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"I understand the issues with anti-social behaviour and I agree that actions must be taken to prevent them causing problems for the store and the local community.

"But I strongly believe this is not a healthy way to deal with these issues. I’m educated in the effects and health issues these frequencies can cause.

"I specialise in this and have a meditation channel on YouTube, so I know the amazing benefits and dangers involved with frequency.

"The more individuals that speak out about this, the more likely Morrisons will take alternative measures and have this machine removed.

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Concerns have been raised over the effect the high-pitched sound can have on children and others who might be sensitive to loud sounds, including those with autismConcerns have been raised over the effect the high-pitched sound can have on children and others who might be sensitive to loud sounds, including those with autism
Concerns have been raised over the effect the high-pitched sound can have on children and others who might be sensitive to loud sounds, including those with autism

"My little girl was in tears"

Sarah is not the only customer to complain. Others say they too are tormented by the ringing, with shoppers sharing their annoyance at the device and its persistent buzzing.

Some have suffered headaches and dizzy spells, while others say the ringing has left their children 'in tears'.

Another concerned mum, Laura Preston, has had to stop shopping at the supermarket for the sake of her young daughter.

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"One of my younger girls wouldn't be able to handle this, so I'm quite concerned," she said. "I don't want to put her in a situation that would cause distress as we shop at a supermarket."

Another local mum, Kate Foxcroft, echoed Laura's concerns, saying: "It’s so bad! My four-year-old has to cover his ears when I take him to the shop with me, it’s such a shame."

"My grandaughter is the same," added Carol Hackett. "She doesn't like going into Morrisons because she can hear it every time."

But it's not just children who are picking up on the ear-splitting buzzing sound.

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"I've heard it for weeks," said Caitlin Rogers. "I also find it uncomfortable. It really is nasty to hear as you walk around the store. So it’s not just children."

"When I go to Morrisons it nearly gives me an aneurysm," added Jamie Boon. "I suffer from cluster headaches which are extremely painful, so I’ve had to shop elsewhere as it’s one of the worst experiences I've come across. It’s like it pierces into my brain."

"I hear this noise every single time I go in," said Abbie Dootson. "I mean, it must be a good deterrent because no one is going to want to stand around there for long!"

"I had the same," said Jack Thornton. "Banging headache from it. I can see why it's a deterrent", while Ange Elizabeth agreed, saying, "I also find it very uncomfortable, it puts me off shopping there."

Shoppers at Morrisons in Bamber Bridge have complained about the store's 'Mosquito' device - a machine which emits a pulsing noise at high frequency to deter youths from loitering around the supermarketShoppers at Morrisons in Bamber Bridge have complained about the store's 'Mosquito' device - a machine which emits a pulsing noise at high frequency to deter youths from loitering around the supermarket
Shoppers at Morrisons in Bamber Bridge have complained about the store's 'Mosquito' device - a machine which emits a pulsing noise at high frequency to deter youths from loitering around the supermarket

What do Morrisons say?

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Morrisons defended their use of the Mosquito device which was introduced because the Bamber Bridge store was plagued by anti-social behaviour from local youths.

It told the Post the device is "turned on as necessary" to deter loitering outside the store and is "completely safe".

A Morrisons spokesperson said:"Our stores should be safe places to work and shop, as such we adopt a zero tolerance policy to any sort of anti social behaviour.

"In order to help keep our customers and colleagues safe at our Bamber Bridge store we have been working with the local authorities and have a number of security measures in place, including the use of a mosquito device outside the store."

'Not entirely safe' for children, say experts

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Not everyone is convinced the Mosquito device is safe for children.

The German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has published a report on the use of 'ultrasonic noise channels', concluding that they are "not entirely safe".

"Disruption of the equilibrium senses, as well as other extra-aural effects are well known," the report stated, adding, "with the sound levels that can be reached by the device, the onset of dizziness, headache, nausea and impairment is to be expected."

Back in 2005, Co-op scrapped the controversial anti-teenager device at its stores following a campaign by autistic Preston teenager Paul Brookfield. Then aged 19, Paul said the device at his local Co-op store in Longridge was causing him pain. Co-op withdrew the devices and opted to play classical music instead.

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Paul told the Post: "As I had autism it was heightened. It was a high-pitched whizzing, whirring. I've heard of cases involving some people with autism who can't go anywhere near a store because it actually makes them sick."

The Mosquito device was invented by a former BAE engineer, Howard Stapleton, after his daughter was intimidated by a gang of boys. It is marketed to stores on the grounds that unruly teenagers congregating near shops might discourage customers.

The National Autistic Society was approached for comment.

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