The Scottish Grocers Federation has likened its ongoing dispute with the Scottish government over a bottle deposit return scheme to the “war of attrition” portrayed in classic HBO Series The Wire.

Both the SGF and the Association of Convenience Stores recently wrote to the Scottish government to highlight concerns over plans to introduce a bottle return scheme.

In the SGF’s latest C-Store blog, chief executive Pete Cheema drew comparisons with their own dispute with the Scottish government and The Wire’s war of attrition between the police and drug gangs in the US city of Baltimore.

He said: “The ‘war’ dragged on, using up time and resources, with the strategies being employed by one side simply being nullified by the other. Something similar is happening with the debate on a deposit return system for Scotland.”

Cheema also criticised the Scottish branch of a national trade association for “mistakenly” pledging its support for a deposit system. “To them and others we have to point out that there will be no financial rewards for retailers,” he said.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “A deposit return scheme would impose massive time and cost burdens on retailers, many of whom are operating in very small stores that would be significantly adversely affected by the proposals. We encourage the government to focus on recycling measures that are effective, popular with the public and don’t add costs to small shops, such as improving the existing kerbside recycling schemes.”