Central England Co-op reinforces zero tolerance crime campaign after armed theft in Leicestershire

Central England Co-op has reaffirmed its campaign calling for better protection for colleagues after colleagues were subjected to an armed robbery involving a knife in Wigston.

The retailer is reinforcing its message that violence and aggression towards staff will ‘not be tolerated’ following the incident which saw a male threaten a colleague with a knife while demanding cash from the till.

Thankfully the colleagues on duty were not physically harmed during the shocking incident, however they were extremely shaken by the ordeal. The team is working with the local police and supporting its investigation.

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op has been shocked and appalled at this unacceptable incident in Wigston.

“Luckily, the colleagues were not injured and we are offering full support to them and the entire team and working closely with the local police force to bring the criminals responsible to justice.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our colleagues who are just doing their job.

“These types of incidents reinforce our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we are sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it is not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

This comes after the retailer asked people to ‘be kind’ as part of a new campaign encouraging customers to treat shop colleagues with respect and to repeat the Co-op’s long-term message to would-be criminals that ‘it is not worth the risk’ to target them.

New research has shown that, in the last 12 months, incidents of verbal abuse jumped by 167%, anti-social behaviour by 39%, assaults by 35% and threats by 16% compared to 2019.

The retailer also revealed that 312 crimes related directly to Covid-19 have been recorded in stores since the start of the pandemic.

Recently, to help combat this problem, the retailer rolled out a range of different measures including security assistance buttons and using tracking devices in more products to deter would-be thieves.

The retailer has also been working with other major retailers, unions, industry bodies, police and crime commissioners and over 200 MPs to push the Government to crackdown further on those who abuse or attack shopworkers via the introduction of tougher penalties such as an automatic prison term.

Neil O’Brien, MP for Wigston, spoke out in support of shop workers following the incident at the Blaby Road store.

He said: “This is an incredibly worrying incident and I’d encourage anyone with information to come forward. Shop workers have been at the forefront of the national efforts during the pandemic, to keep things moving and keep the nation fed – we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for everything they’ve done under extremely challenging circumstances, and this is totally unacceptable. I sincerely hope the person is caught and sentenced appropriately for their disgraceful actions.”

 

Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,550 colleagues serve customers across over 400 trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

The Society’s purpose is to inspire communities to help create a ‘sustainable Society for all’, a strong and successful business that is invested in protecting the environment and the wellbeing of its colleagues, members, and customers.

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop