Shop inundated with combat gear requests
WATTISHAM soldiers wanting the very latest combat gear to take with them to the Gulf, have been inundating a Stowmarket shop with business.Geoff Turner, who runs the Outdoor People shop, in Stowupland Road, said his shop has been packed with soldiers wanting new equipment over the past few weeks.
By MARK BULSTRODE
WATTISHAM soldiers wanting extra gear to take with them to the Gulf, have been inundating a Stowmarket shop with business.
Geoff Turner, who runs the Outdoor People shop, in Stowupland Road, said his shop has been packed with soldiers wanting new equipment over the past few weeks.
Desert boots, camping beds, sleeping bags and mosquito nets have proved to be the most in demand items so far.
Mr Turner joked: "Most of the soldiers I've seen seem to be more afraid of the midges and mosquitoes than they are the Iraqis."
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He added: "It's been really busy for the last three or four weeks. Some of the soldiers went a few weeks ago and we had a little flurry then but lately we have been having waves and waves of them.
"Every time there's a little scurry somewhere we always get a last minute rush. A couple of months ago, when we had the gales, it was for gas lights and stoves."
Soldiers from Colchester, RAF Honnington and others from all over region have been using the shop, according to Mr Turner, who has run his business for 18 years.
Although he is pleased about the upturn in business, he said it is a sad reflection on the kit that the soldiers are provided with.
"It just seems sad that they have to buy their own kit, he said. "Some of them have been spending serious money on equipment – we are talking hundreds of pounds.
"When you go to that sort of place, you need to be prepared and it seems odd that they don't get the proper gear.
"A lot of them haven't been issued with kit. It's things like sleeping bags that they don't necessarily get. The stuff that they do get is so big and bulky that they end up doing their own thing."
Some of the other best-selling items include stoves and solar showers, which consist of a black bag with a capacity to hold 20 litres of water. They are designed to be hung out in the sun to allow the water to heat up, with the water then let out through a showerhead.