Olympic coach Ian Coley anger at WH Smith shooting magazine rules for children
A ROW has erupted between Cheltenham's Olympic shooting coach Ian Coley and High Street giant WH Smiths over the sale of gun magazines to children.
Mr Coley, who coached the successful GB shotgun squad that saw Peter Wilson win gold in London, is outraged over the stance taken by Britain's biggest newsagent.
His grandson Haydn is a future shooting hopeful with dreams of competing at the 2020 Olympics.
At 13, under the current sales restrictions, he is banned from buying a magazine – despite being old enough to obtain a shotgun licence under supervision of someone aged 21 or older.
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Mr Coley, who also coached British shooter Richard Faulds to Olympic glory at the 2000 Sydney Games, wrote a letter to the head of WH Smiths, Walker Boyd, and handed one to the manager of the Cheltenham branch.
He said the ban could strangle the sport's future.
"How can WH Smiths justify the ban to my grandson and to the many thousands of young shots who enjoy their chosen sport of shooting?" he said.
Ian teaches youngsters how to shoot at his school in Andoversford.
A WH Smiths spokesman said: "The introduction of till prompts with regards to certain shooting titles originated from the fact a number of these publications included "cover mounts" attached to the front of the magazine that have historically included certain firearm-related products.
"With regard to the application of these procedures across our store chain, these till prompts have only been applied to a section of gun-related and shooting titles, in respect of a limited number of publications."
IPC Media has three shooting magazine titles, Shooting Times, Shooting Gazette and Shooting UK.
An IPC spokesperson said: "We, and a number of other organisations are involved in a constructive dialogue with WH Smith about their policy of enforcing an age restriction on shooting magazines, and we are currently hopeful that a satisfactory resolution will be reached in the near future."
Britain's largest animal rights organisation Animal Aid published a report earlier this year claiming the magazines were "pro-violence" and had a "corrosive, long-lasting effect on impressionable young minds".