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Robbery and burglary on the decline at Co-op stores following spate of ram-raids

PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:32 28 July 2019

Robberies and burglaries at Co-op stores in Norfolk and Suffolk are on the decline. The aftermath of a ram-raid in Kessingland in 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

Robberies and burglaries at Co-op stores in Norfolk and Suffolk are on the decline. The aftermath of a ram-raid in Kessingland in 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Robberies at Co-op food stores in Norfolk and Suffolk have dropped by 30pc since the retailer rolled out a series of crime prevention measures.

Ram-raiders struck at the Co-op store on Polka Road in Wells-next-the-Sea in 2017. Picture: Ian BurtRam-raiders struck at the Co-op store on Polka Road in Wells-next-the-Sea in 2017. Picture: Ian Burt

New figures, released 12 months after a major crackdown began, show the number of burglaries at the company's shops also went down by 6pc.

From last summer, stores were fitted with external motion detectors and a centrally monitored CCTV system, allowing workers to call for assistance at the touch of a button.

The changes have resulted in a decline in robberies and burglaries across the region, bucking a national trend which has seen similar incidents jump by 508pc and 137pc respectively.

Craig Goldie, loss prevention advisor at Central England Co-op, said: "We are so proud to have recorded big drops in the levels of burglaries and robberies at our stores.

Jack Morgan was sentenced to five years in prison for his part in a ram-raid in Kessingland. Picture: Suffolk ConstabularyJack Morgan was sentenced to five years in prison for his part in a ram-raid in Kessingland. Picture: Suffolk Constabulary

"Incidents such as robberies and ATM thefts are frightening for store colleagues, who are our first priority, and this is why we were determined to act. Our measures have already started to deter criminals."

Numerous convenience stories in Norfolk and Suffolk have fallen foul of robberies and burglaries in recent years, many of them Co-op stores.

In 2017, Co-op offered a reward of £20,000 for information relating to a spate of ram-raids in locations including Wells, Rickinghall, Lakenheath and Red Lodge.

Earlier this year, a man and a teenage boy were sentenced for their part in a ram-raid in Kessingland which saw a cash machine stolen and a car driven at police officers.

The scene at Co-op in Rickinghall following a ram-raid in 2017. Picture: Marc BettsThe scene at Co-op in Rickinghall following a ram-raid in 2017. Picture: Marc Betts

Co-op's new technology sits alongside a range of other tools including GPS trackers, stringent cash controls and additional ATM anchors designed to prevent successful ram-raids.

It is hoped customers and colleagues will be kept safe as a result, and criminals put off from targeting convenience supermarkets.

"We'll continue to constantly assess problems to ensure our stores are safe places to work and shop, and work closely with other retailers, police and the government to tackle issues of violence and aggression towards colleagues," added Mr Goldie.

"We are doing everything we can to prevent incidents, but if something does happen we offer support and counselling from within our business and from specialists."

The aftermath of a ram-raid in Kessingland in 2018.
Picture: Nick ButcherThe aftermath of a ram-raid in Kessingland in 2018. Picture: Nick Butcher

Central England Co-op stores now have full CCTV coverage, increased security guards provision and motion sensors which can be activated outside trading hours and contact police if necessary.

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