A CONTROVERSIAL shop which became the scene of passionate political protests has closed.

EcoStream, on Western Road, Brighton, opened as an experimental packaging-free refill store two years ago.

But pro-Palestinian protesters picketed the shop over parent company SodaStream’s factory in the contested West Bank territory.

In response pro-Israeli groups staged counter-demos leading to a regular police presence and arrestsThe Israeli company’s chief executive promised the store would stay open but activists vowed to continue protesting until EcoStream closed.

The store opened in 2012 to test the market for environmentally-conscious consumers who could purchase household products by weight and without packaging.

It targeted Brighton because of its reputation for “one of the most environmentally aware populations in the UK” but the firm suffered a slump in its share price and worldwide condemnation for operating in Ma’ale Adumim, an Israeli settlement deemed illegal under international law.

Ann Hallam, of Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “The closure is a tribute to the people of Brighton and Hove who made a decision not to support an unethical business.

“There’s been massive support for our message that this was not a green enterprise.”

Sussex Friends of Israel was “disappointed” about the closure of a store which was “clearly ahead of its time”.

A spokesman said: “Where there is hate-filled anti-Israel rhetoric, Sussex Friends of Israel will ensure that the facts are heard so informed decisions can be made rather than listening to those that shout loudest.

“Sussex Friends of Israel defends Israel’s right to exist and will continue to support stores selling SodaStream products.”

SodaStream said it would focus its business efforts on retail distribution. It said it would keep fighting for a planet free of plastic bottles.