A NINE-year-old boy was left “upset” after he was told he was too young to buy The Guardian newspaper in a convenience store.

Bosses at the One Stop shop in Priorswood Road, Taunton, have apologised for the “genuine mistake”.

Matthew McFarlane, of Eastwick Road, was turned away when he took his copy of the broadsheet to the counter and was told it was an age-restricted item.

Matthew, a Lyngford Park Primary School pupil, said: “It was quite upsetting because I really wanted to get it.

“I think they thought I was too young to read some bits of it, but they let other children read other newspapers.”

His father, the Rev Iain McFarlane, vicar of St Peter’s, said his goddaughter, Susannah, who is 21, stepped in and bought the paper.

Mr McFarlane added: “It seems ludicrous that a child should be denied the right to buy a broadsheet newspaper.

“We should be encouraging children to read good newspapers.

“I’d want to protect my son from the likes of The Sun, but The Guardian?

“It’s nanny state nonsense.”

A One Stop spokeswoman said a flag comes up on the till when newspapers and magazines are scanned to warn staff to check to see if they contain DVDs or CDs that may be inappropriate for under 18s.

She added: “It was just a genuine mistake.

“We had a couple of new employees in the store and they automatically thought they had to decline the sale.

“We apologise for any inconvenience.”