The fast-food chain McDonald’s has banned under-18s from eating in one of its restaurants in Sutton.

The North Cheam branch has ordered children to take their food outside unless they are accompanied by an adult following complaints about young customers’ behaviour.

Teenagers have previously smashed windows, vandalised furniture and poured drinks over staff, according to the restaurant’s manager.

But the new rules have prompted claims of “discrimination” against young people.

James Bray, 15, of Banstead, was told by security to get out of the London Road restaurant by after playing football with friends at nearby Goals.

He and his pals were forced to eat outside in the rain after buying burgers on Thursday afternoon last week.

His mum Caroline Bray, 50, of The Oval, said: "I can understand that some people need to be told to eat outside, but they had not done anything wrong. It is discrimination that paints all teenagers with the same brush.

"There isn't even a sign outside telling them that they will have to take their food outside and, even if there was, it would be wrong.

"This is something that could escalate as many will go there over the Easter holidays and will be turned away, which will make many parents frustrated."

But the restaurant’s manager told the Sutton Guardian the new security rules, which apply to groups of young people between noon and 8pm, were necessary to protect staff and customers.

She said: "In the past big groups have smashed the windows by throwing rocks at them and vandalised furniture inside, our staff have even had drinks poured on them by teenagers.

"Some also smoked drugs outside and parents were complaining to us about their behaviour and, I mean, it is a family restaurant and they felt uncomfortable having teenagers acting like that near their children.”

The manager, who would not give her name, added: "We are not stopping children under 18 from eating inside, they just need to have an adult with them when they do."