RESIDENTS, police and community leaders were united today in outrage at supermarket giant Tesco – after the firm declared a Sheffield neighbourhood a ‘no-go area’ for deliveries.
Tesco said it stands by its decision not to make online shopping deliveries in Gleadless Valley.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket confirmed: “Our drivers’ safety is our primary concern, and in the past they have experienced threatening behaviour while delivering to this area.”
Denise Devall, aged 69, and her daughter Karen Dingle, 43, of Overend Way, Gleadless Valley, placed an online home-delivery order for £192 of groceries to see them through Christmas.
But - just hours before the delivery was due to arrive - Tesco phoned to say the order had been cancelled and wouldn’t be sent, as Gleadless Valley is a ‘bad area’.
A worker told Karen delivery drivers had been attacked, children had thrown stones at the Tesco vans, and thieves had stolen goods while their vehicles were parked up.
But Karen said she thought Gleadless Valley was being unfairly discriminated against - and the incident had left her feeling ‘depressed and fed up’.
“We’ve never heard of any problems with delivery vans whatsoever,” she said.
“It just feels like this area is being targeted. I don’t think it’s fair. It makes you feel cut off.”
Steve Rundell, who leads Gleadless Valley Community Forum, said he found Tesco’s stance ‘appalling’.
“It’s quite shocking,” he said. “Gleadless Valley might have its problems, but I consider it a relatively safe area, and much improved on how it was 10 years ago.
“I’m happy to walk down streets in the dark and I don’t feel threatened.”
Steve added: “Gleadless Valley is full of very nice, friendly, hard-working and decent people. This makes people feel they are second-class citizens, as if they’re being tarred with a particularly unpleasant brush.”
Inspector Ian Stubbs, from South Yorkshire Police’s South Safer Neighbourhood Area, said attacks on drivers delivering to Gleadless Valley were ‘not a problem’ locally.
“It’s not something that’s been flagged to my attention as a particular problem,” said Insp Stubbs.
“There’s nowhere in Sheffield that should be considered a no-go area for anybody.
“I think it’s completely unfair, it’s going to make people worried.
“Gleadless has its problems like many large council estates - but no more so than anywhere else. And, if you look at the crime figures, over the last two to three years there have been significant reductions in all sorts of crime in Gleadless.”
Tim Rippon, Labour councillor for Gleadless Valley, said: “I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. For me it’s a fantastic place and the people there are quite fantastic too.”
Karen, who said they wanted home delivery as neither herself nor her mum, a retired carer, are capable of carrying heavy shopping bags, said Tesco gave them only one alternative - picking up their order themselves from a branch in Chesterfield, a £48 cab journey away.
“They said they couldn’t deliver because they’d had trouble here before and it was a bad area,” she said. “They said drivers had been attacked, children had thrown stones at the window of the truck, and somebody had pinched stuff out of the back.
“But they’ve been here once before to us about 12 months ago and delivered it with no problems.”
The Tesco spokeswoman added: “We are trying to make alternative arrangements for this customer, and we will keep our decision not to deliver to this area under review.”