Co-op condemns violent attack on store colleague and reinforces zero tolerance crime campaign

Central England Co-op has reaffirmed its campaign calling for better protection for colleagues dealing with would-be criminals after a violent attack last weekend.

The retailer is reinforcing its message that violence and aggression towards staff will ‘not be tolerated’ after an innocent colleague at its Markfield Food Store, in Main Street, Leicester, was verbally abused, physically attacked and robbed on Friday 10 July, leaving them unconscious and in hospital.

Thankfully, the colleague is now in a stable condition and a police investigation is underway.

This shocking incident comes just days after 200 parliamentarians from across the political divide backed efforts calling for better protection for shopworkers from physical and verbal threats and attacks while at work.

Craig Goldie, Loss Prevention Manager, said: “Everyone at Central England Co-op was shocked and appalled at the unacceptable attack on a colleague in Leicester on Friday.

“This unprovoked incident resulted in the colleague being badly injured and taken to hospital. They are thankfully now in a stable condition.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse of violence towards our colleagues who are just doing their job and are working closely with the local police force in order to find those responsible.

“This type of incident reinforces our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we are sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it is not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

Recent figures have seen assaults jump by 100%, threats and intimidation by 25% and verbal abuse by 175% since the start of the year, and since the lockdown was introduced, there have been over 100 incidents related directly to people using COVID-19 as a threat.

The Society has long campaigned for the Government to change legislation so shop workers are afforded greater protection in carrying out their duties. Today the retailer is saying more needs to be done now to protect these critical workers and to curb a potential crime epidemic.

Last week the Government outlined findings of a consultation entitled ‘Call for Evidence – Violence and Abuse Towards Shop Staff’.

Some of the actions to arise from the report include:

  • Development of best practice guidance to help staff report crimes and ensure they have the correct support
  • Urging police forces and police and crime commissioners to reach out to retailers to understand the scale of the problem locally
  • Urging police forces to set out rules that the theft of goods up to £200 should be prosecuted as a criminal offence

However, Central England Co-op has reiterated that ‘more still needs to be done’ and continues to lobby the Government for more change, including tougher laws, alongside other co-operative and retailers across the country.


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 for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood



Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


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