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Dramatic rise in ‘looting’ and staff abuse at Co-op shops in past year


The Official Football Merchandise Store

Dramatic rise in 'looting' and staff abuse at Co-op shops in past year

Crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour has increased by over a third in Co-op shops in the past year.

The company has revealed that almost 1,000 incidents occurred every day in shops in the first six months of 2023, a total of more than 175,000.

One shop in inner London was “looted” three times in a single day.

Shop workers have also seen physical assaults increase by almost a third year-on-year, and anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse increase by a fifth.

Co-op has warned that the level of crime is “out-of-control” and could see some locations become no-go areas for convenience shops.

Matt Hood, managing director at Co-op Food said: “I have seen some horrific incidents of brazen and violent theft in our stores, where my store colleagues feel scared and threatened.

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“I see first-hand how this criminal behaviour also erodes the very fabric of our communities – it’s hard to over-emphasise how important urgent change is.”

Co-op has said many local organised crime gangs operate without fear of being caught, and called on police and crime commissioners to “play their part” and target prolific offenders.

A Freedom of Information request by Co-op showed that police failed to respond in 71% of serious retail crimes reported.

James Lowman, the chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said organised criminal activity exploits vulnerable people and funds the illegal drug trade.


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