Crackdown on yobs

PUBLISHED: 11:39 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 May 2010

The Co-Op store

The Co-Op store

POLICE are ready to disperse groups of youths who gather outside a small supermarket and are being blamed for shoplifting and abusing staff. The young teens have been plaguing the Co-op store in King Street, Potton, for several months with police being ca

POLICE are ready to disperse groups of youths who gather outside a small supermarket and are being blamed for shoplifting and abusing staff.

The young teens have been plaguing the Co-op store in King Street, Potton, for several months with police being called on many occasions.

One member of staff has been assaulted in the store when she confronted a young shoplifter and others have been verbally abusive when caught.

Store manager Natasha Emery says the police have been called on numerous occasions but so far nobody has been arrested.

Some youngsters have been barred from the store and the problem has resulted in her only allowing two youngsters at a time in the store and always demanding ID with proof of age when purchasing cigarettes.

Now she is hoping the police plan to keep gangs of children away from the outside of the store will eliminate the problems.

"It mostly happens at weekends," said Natasha.

"The kids are all from 14 years old upwards. Some come into the shop and try and steal booze and sweets. But we have caught so many. Once they have been caught they cause mayhem swearing and shouting.

"We have called the police on many occasions but nothing has ever been done. Now hopefully it will and the kids will not keep causing us trouble."

Sgt Ted Bloodworth of the neighbourhood policing team in Biggleswade said he was well aware of the problem at the Potton Co-op and will be taking measures to try and make the youngsters aware that police action will be taken if there are any more incidents inside the store.

"We understand what is going on there and will be going along to speak to the youngsters," said Sgt Bloodworth.

"It is an on-going problem that has got to be sorted out and the only way to stop it is to speak to these youngsters. In the future if anyone does steal goods in the shop we will hopefully know who they are and inform their parents.

"But the quicker we get these kids off the street the better because shoplifting is a serious offence and youngsters could end up before a youth court.

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