WAITROSE is to ban sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to children under 16.

The supermarket said that from March 5 customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove they are over 16 years of age.

The move follows calls by campaigners for a complete ban on the sale of energy drinks to children after findings showed their sugar and c a f f e i n e c o nt e nt remains high despite reformulation ahead of the soft drinks levy.

Waitrose said its decision was built on existing industry labelling guidelines, which require any soft drink with more than 150mg of caffeine per litre to carry a high-caffeine content warning and state it is not recommended for children.

The British Soft Drinks Association introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2010 stating high-caffeine soft drinks should not b e p r o m o t e d o r marketed to those under 16.

Simon Moore, Waitrose director of technical and corporate social responsibility, said: “These drinks carry advice stating that they are not recommended for children, so we’re choosing to proactively act on that guidance.”