Boots insists it is not abandoning film processing, despite telling customers at a branch in Surrey that it can no longer be processed in-store owing to falling demand.

Visitors to Boots in Leatherhead are this week greeted by a sign that reads: ‘Due to the decline of our Photo Processing Business, this store will cease production of all in-store processing from Tue 24th April 2012’.

In a letter to Amateur Photographer (AP), regular reader Keith Hughes wrote: ?Imagine how I felt when I went into Boots and saw this notice. I have always found my local branch of Boots very helpful and their service normally meets my requirements.’

Keith ? who says he does not own a computer ? added: ?It seems that those in my situation are either being blackmailed into getting a computer, or having to opt out of photography, a hobby I have enjoyed for more than 60 years.?

A Boots spokesperson told AP: ?We constantly review our products and services to ensure we meet the changing needs of our customers and we have found that the way our customers use photo services in the market has changed significantly over recent years.

?As a result, a plan to develop the Boots photo experience in the Leatherhead store is underway, to update the service which will be available from 26 April 2012.’

She added: ?Customers can still take in films to be processed? this will be a send-away service.?

Boots history of film processing stretches back to 1954, when a company set up by pharmacist Edgar Moss opened its first photographic store, in Staines, Middlesex, keen to exploit the burgeoning popularity of photography.

?It carried an extensive range of stock, had a demonstration room at the rear and a specialist photographic manager, and was greeted with enthusiasm by local amateur photographers,? states Boots? website.

The Boots spokesperson added: ?Customers visiting the Leatherhead store will still be able to use the instant print service and will have the opportunity to order lab-quality prints and creative products, which will continue to be available via the kiosk in-store.?

Boots insists the move is not part of a new company-wide policy.