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

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

Will Etherington, Store Manager at Keresforth Hall Road Food Store, in Barnsley, 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 shockingly attacked during the robbery on Monday, 20 July.

The injured colleague is recovering at home and South Yorkshire Police have launched a manhunt for the person they believe to be responsible.

Will 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.

Will 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 our store is a safe, calm and comfortable environment for community.”

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

Detective Inspector Tom Woodward, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “I’d like to offer my reassurance to the local community at this time. Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are exploring a number of lines of enquiry to locate the offender.
“We’d like to encourage the public to come forward if they have any information which might help us in our enquiries.  
“Were you in the area at the time? Do you recognise the man in the CCTV image or his clothing?
“If you have any information, please contact us.

“If you have any information, please contact 101 quoting incident number 922 of 20 July 2020.
“Alternatively, you can stay completely anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers via their website Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling their UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111.”



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