Tesco has banned a children’s entertainer from using balloons during his act in one of its stores because he breaks health and safety rules.

Barney Baloney, the clown, usually twists them into animal shapes and hands them to children. But Tesco has told the 47-year-old, also known as Tony Turner, to keep the balloons in his pocket and entertain children with what is left of his act.

Turner, who was booked for a five-hour show at Tesco’s Crossgates Centre store in Leeds, had to rely on magic, puppets, juggling and an emu costume to keep the children amused.

He has already been forced to stop using a bubble-making machine after being refused public liability insurance because insurers said the bubbles might cause the children to slip and hurt themselves. “At this rate I will have no act left,” said Turner from Sheffield.

A Tesco spokesman said: “This is a health and safety issue.

“We have banned balloons because latex is used in the manufacture of them and this can trigger an allergic reaction in some children. We always have the welfare of children at heart.”