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Security measures stepped up at South Yorkshire Co-op stores in wake of raids

Thieves ripped an ATM from the wall of the Co-op on Worksop Road, Aston, last month
Thieves ripped an ATM from the wall of the Co-op on Worksop Road, Aston, last month

Security measures have been stepped up at Co-op stores across South Yorkshire in the wake of a series of raids.

Over recent months members of staff in a number of Co-op stores have been threatened with a range of weapons during raids in which cash, cigarettes and alcohol were stolen.

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Last month, thieves drove a JCB into the exterior wall of the Co-op on Worksop Road, Aston, and ripped out a cash machine.

They loaded it onto a Ford Transit van and fled the scene.

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The week before, cigarettes were stolen from the Co-op on Fenton Road, Greasbrough, Rotherham, during an overnight break-in.

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In April, masked men raided the Co-op on Brooklands Avenue, Fulwood, and forced members of staff to open the tills after threatening them.

They escaped with cash, alcohol and cigarettes.

One of the men was armed with a machete.

In March, knife-wielding robbers raided two more Co-op stores and made off with cash and cigarettes.

They struck on Mansfield Road, Intake and Richmond Road, Richmond, within the space of 10 minutes on the same night.

There were also armed raids at Co-op stores in High Green and Burncross in the same week.

Central England Co-op has today revealed an improvement in security measures at its stores, warning criminals that targeting its shops is not 'worth the risk'.

External motion detectors are being installed and a centrally monitored CCTV system is also being fitted which allows colleagues to call for assistance at the touch of a button.

Marianne Nyambo, loss prevention manager at Central England Co-op, said: "We are aware that incidents such as robberies and ATM thefts are frightening for store colleagues, who are our first priority.

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

"We work closely with police forces across the 16 counties in which we trade in order to protect our colleagues, customers and community."

She added: "We already have full CCTV coverage in all our stores, have increased our provision of security guards and reduced incident response times.

"We have now secured funding to put in place further measures to try and ensure that people are kept safe.

"We will be using a central monitoring system that will allow colleagues to press a button to alert a special control room who will then be able to watch what is happening on CCTV and call for immediate assistance from the emergency services if required.

"This will allow for quicker support for colleagues as incidents are escalated quicker and will also help increase colleague’s perception of safety and security, something of which has happened when the system has been installed elsewhere across our business.

"External motion detectors will also be installed outside of our food stores and will be activated outside of trading hours. When activated they will switch on CCTV cameras to record any out of hours activity and contact police if needed.

"These measures, along with the ones we already have in place, will hopefully deter criminals and, most importantly, ensure our colleagues and customers feel safe."

In March, a man armed with a knife entered the Co-op on Sandygate Road, Crosspool, and made off with cash after threatening members of staff.

The month before, robbers armed with a knife also escaped with cash after a raid at the Co-op on Bevan Way, Chapeltown.

And in January, a masked man brandishing a machete stole £3,000 after a raid at the Co-op on High Street, Ecclesfield.

He forced staff into a rear room at the store, where the safe is kept, stole thousands of pounds and drove off from the scene in a stolen car which was later found burnt out.