British soldiers have been banned from texting or smoking while out and about in uniform in a bid to improve the Army’s image.
Troops stationed at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire have also been told not to hang around a nearby Greggs bakery to avoid looking ‘unprofessional’.
Soldiers already have a system of ‘Values and Standards’ which prohibits sexual advances towards those in junior ranks, binge drinking, heavy gambling or affairs with fellow soldiers’ wives or husbands.
But some regiments are taking the measures further.
A document about dress and discipline around the barracks warns members of the Royal Dragoon Guards that ‘under no circumstances’ should they ‘stand outside Greggs eating a pasty’.
The Royal Dragoon Guards have been told not to snack at Greggs or smoke while in uniform
Troops at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire – the UK’s biggest military base – have been told they face getting their marching orders if they’re spotted munching treats from the local Greggs, which opened up less a mile from base.
Regiment chiefs have asked middle-ranking troops, including sergeants and corporals, to find the ‘moral courage’ to blow the whistle on those who defy the ban.
Non-commissioned officers ‘need to have the fibre and moral courage to police this and be all over those who make the Royal Dragoon Guards look unprofessional,’ a document seen by The Mail on Sunday says.
Servicemen and women already have to abide by the Soldiers Values and Standards, a lengthy document which sets out the social norms and rules for those in the Armed Forces.
It states: ‘Social misbehaviour, particularly the wrong sort of relationships, can undermine trust. Unwelcome sexual attention, taking sexual advantage of someone more junior than you or an affair with a partner of a teammate may damage the integrity and honesty of those involved, and damage the team.
‘It is vital that you maintain those standards all the time, on and off duty. The responsible consumption of alcohol is accepted, but binge drinking is unprofessional: it is dangerous and it damages your health.
‘Look after your money carefully, avoid uncontrolled debts and heavy gambling as this shows a lack of self-discipline and others may lose their trust in you.’
This Greggs outlet has opened less than a mile from the regiment’s base near Catterick
Troops stationed at the nearby barracks have been told to report each other for going there in uniform. Some have said they’ll go ‘in disguise’
The Gregg’s move is over fears the regiment ‘look unprofessional’, although it comes at a time of increasing concern about overweight troops.
But soldiers last night pledged to defy the butty ban.
‘If I have to go for my pasty in disguise, so be it,’ said one. ‘It is ridiculous for commanders to suggest that somehow we bring the regiment into disrepute because we stand outside Greggs eating pasties.
‘We’re not all fatties either and it’s not like the food dished up at the Army canteen is any healthier than what we get at Greggs – and Greggs is cheaper.
‘The Greggs ban and some of the other new rules top brass have introduced are crazy.’
Military chiefs have resorted to a series of measures, including the creation of ‘fat clubs’ and paying for diet pills and liposuction, to tackle the problem of an increasingly overweight fighting force.
A cheese and bacon wrap from Greggs contains 393 calories and 13g of saturated fat
As The Mail on Sunday revealed last month, one in ten of our troops is now classified as clinically obese.
Senior officers at Catterick have also banned troops from having a crafty cigarette while in uniform or from sending text messages as they walk down the street in a bid to improve their image.
Founded in 1939, Greggs is the UK’s largest bakery chain with about 1,9200 branches. It had a turnover of £960 million last year, with profits of £72 million, but its menu of cheap, but often unhealthy, calorie-laden products has attracted controversy.
According to its website, a beef and vegetable pasty has 511 calories and 17g of saturated fat. The NHS recommends that an adult male should consume no more than 2,500 calories a day and no more than 30g of saturated fat, which raises cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease.
Greggs declined to comment, while an MoD spokesman said: ‘Healthy living and fitness in the Armed Forces is of vital importance. Our personnel are required to pass our challenging fitness tests and those who do not pass are provided with diet and fitness support, in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight.’