Stores blast out classical music to deter gangs - VIDEO

CO-OP stores in South Yorkshire are playing classical music from outdoor loud speakers to deter gangs of hooligans from congregating outside.

Concertos, overtures, minuets and symphonies are being broadcast from the shops to drive away anti-social yobs who gather outside at night, causing trouble and intimidating customers.

The Co-op in Manor Park Centre is playing pieces by composers including Bach, Mozart and Tchaikovsky over an external speaker system.

And manager Jamie Parker told The Star: "It really does seem to be working."

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Other South Yorkshire stores participating in the scheme include Gleadless in Sheffield and Greasbrough and Kimberworth Park in Rotherham.

Co-op regional loss prevention manager Peter Cooper said the move was having the desired effect because the music made the area less "cool" for hip-hop-loving teens to gather.

He said: "We had an issue with young people hanging around outside the stores which was intimidating for shoppers and staff.

"This problem has been dramatically reduced since we introduced the music. The youngsters are definitely not classical music fans, and tend to disappear as soon as we turn the music on.

"This is an extra tool we can install in locations where we have such problems. Playing the music makes our shops less cool as places for youngsters to hang out.

"We are really pleased the music is having such a positive effect and is making life easier for our customers and staff."

Co-op customer Tammy Clinton, visiting the Manor Park Centre store, told The Star: "The kids try to intimidate people by hanging round in groups. I think the classical music will work - the kids won't like it. They won't be hanging around if they are playing this."

Doreen Dowling, of Maltravers Road, added: "I think it's a good idea. I like this music - but I don't like the music the youngsters like these days."

Shopper Gemma Wainright, aged 24, said: "It's a bit annoying. I wouldn't stand around here for long if it was playing."

And her sister Louise, 26, said: "I used to hang around here when I was younger - I think it would put me off."

The taped music is controlled by shop staff who can turn the volume up to deter the youths. The initiative is operating at more than 200 Co-operative stores across the UK.

The idea is similar to the controversial Mosquito Anti Vandal System which emits a high pitched noise only youngsters can hear and which was used by local authorities - including Rotherham - to force gangs of teenagers to disperse. It is no longer being used in Rotherham because of fears it could cause health problems, and infringe human rights.

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