AN email which has aroused outrage across St Albans against global coffee company Starbucks has been refuted by the chain.

Many town, district and county councillors across St Albans were shocked today to receive an email alleging the company had refused to send its coffee abroad to army camps because it did not support military action in Iraq, or the soldiers fighting there.

But the chain insists the email, sent out by an American Marine sergeant, has been circulating since 2004 and is totally untrue.

Today’s response from Starbucks has cut short talk of a boycott of St Albans branches.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the rumour "is not and has never been true" and the company wanted to "set the record straight".

He said: “The rumour refers to false information contained in an email that originated in 2004.

“At that time, Starbucks contacted its author, a Marine sergeant who subsequently sent an email to his original distribution list correcting his mistake.

“Starbucks Coffee Company UK respects the efforts of the men and women who serve their country in the military - including our fellow partners, employees, who serve.

“Each week Starbucks partners (employees) receive one complimentary 250 gram bag of coffee. “To demonstrate that our thoughts are with those in the forces, some UK partners have chosen to send this coffee to UK military personnel who have requested Starbucks coffee whilst overseas.”

The Marine who originally sent the email has admitted he based it on "hearsay", and agreed the claims are unfounded.

One respected local councillor told the Review: "I was quite shocked to read this email - I was appalled that Starbucks were not supporting the young men and women who are risking their lives for us.

"I was thinking of trying to organise a local boycott, but I am happy to learn it is a load of rubbish."