THE owner of a military clothing shop in Bolton has blamed a downturn in people wearing it as the reason for closing it down.

Overlord Militaria, in Tonge Moor Road, closed three weeks ago, 36 years after it opened. The shop sold a variety of clothing including vintage militaria comprising of weapons, grenades and gas masks.

However, in recent times the trend for wearing military-style clothing has all but disappeared according to former owner Colin Schofield, who took over the business in 2002.

He said: “I decided to close the business because it was either that or I would have gone bankrupt.”

Colin, 60, who served with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Germany and the Falkland Islands, was a collector of militaria before taking over the shop.

He explained: “I started as a teenager and after serving three years in the forces, I used to come and buy from the shop, which opened in 1982.

“I have run the business for the past 16 years but trade has been dwindling because people who want this stuff now buy it online, but many have also stopped wearing it, so there is no longer a big enough market for it.

“Even people going to wartime re-enactments worry about wearing Nazi uniforms and the like mainly because of criticism levelled at people wearing it which included Prince Harry.”

Colin said he realised that the future for selling militaria had changed massively and youngsters were no longer into wearing fatigues.

He added: “I think the downturn actually occurred after the conflict in Afghanistan when lots of people stopped wearing military clothing and now almost all the military shoppers have gone and I don’t think they will ever come back. Equally, there used to be lots of military fairs, but no one is interested in them any more. The shop closure is definitely the end of an era.”