Central England Co-op manager issues strong statement following brutal attack on colleague in Leicestershire

‘We will not let any would-be criminals stop us providing vital support to our communities’ said a Central England Co-op manager after one of his team was attacked.

Ben Birdsall, Operations Manager for Anson Road Food Store, in Shepshed, decided to speak out to send the message that he and his staff will not tolerate any kind of abuse, threat or attack and they will continue to go above and beyond to support their local community during these uncertain times.

He issued the strong statement after an innocent colleague was pushed and hit in the head after a customer was asked for ID while trying to buy an energy drink and then attempting to leave the store with a drink without paying.

The attacker then brandished a wrench and shouted verbal threats at the colleague before leaving the store.

Thankfully, the colleague was not seriously injured and the store team are now supporting police with their investigation.

This incident comes just days after an innocent colleague was verbally abused, physically attacked and then robbed while he lay injured on the floor in an unprovoked attacked at the Markfield Food Store.

Ben said: “The colleague is doing really well, the support he has had from the business and colleagues alike has been second to none.

“He is currently at home resting, with the hope of returning next week. He will also be given the necessary help he needs on his return.

“I would just like to thank everybody that helped us during this difficult time. The support network has been fantastic.”

The retailer is currently campaigning for better protection for shopworkers and reminded any would-be criminal that it has a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any criminal behaviour towards colleagues.

Ben added: “Abuse cannot and will not be tolerated. These colleagues are at the heart of our communities and are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

“They come to work because they enjoy the job and they do not deserve to feel threatened or abused on a daily basis.

“I'm working hard with the team to make sure the store is a safe, calm and comfortable environment for community.”

The store and colleague have also been supported by local MP Jane Hunt, who has backed calls for more to be done to protect shopworkers.

A Spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: “Officers received a report of an assault at a store in Anson Road, Shepshed.
“The incident is reported to have happened at around 11.25am on Wednesday.
“It was reported a male youth had been challenged over his ID when buying a drink and had become verbally abusive to a man in the store. The youth was then reported to have hit the man before making threats with a weapon which was believed to be a wrench.
“The youth was reported to have then left the store.
“The victim of the incident, who is in his 30s, reported minor injuries.
“Enquiries are currently ongoing into this incident including CCTV checks.
“Anyone with any information should contact 101 quoting incident 20*376023.”



Notes to editors


About Central England Co-operative


Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.


Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 


Our 7,900 colleagues who serve Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 


We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.


We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.


Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood



Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop