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East of England Co-op lodges plans for bollards outside Suffolk stores after ram raids

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 September 2018

The Co-op in Debenham was among those to have been struck by ram raiders Picture: ARCHANT

The Co-op in Debenham was among those to have been struck by ram raiders Picture: ARCHANT

A food retailer chain hit with a series of ram raids in the last year has lodged planning applications to install steel bollards outside its stores.

The Co-op in Lavenham High Street suffered damage in a ram raid Picture: ARCHANTThe Co-op in Lavenham High Street suffered damage in a ram raid Picture: ARCHANT

The East of England Co-op saw ram raids at more than 10 of its food stores across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex in 2017 and ‘18, as cash machines were targeted by thieves.

In May, the firm reported a dent in its profits as a result of spending more on security measures following the raids, which included stores in Debenham, Lavenham, Clare, Long Melford, Sible Hedingham and Great Cornard among others.

For its next phase of security upgrades, the firm has begun lodging planning applications to install steel bollards outside its stores, with applications having been submitted for its Woolpit and Hadleigh stores so far.

It is not yet clear which other stores are being lined up for the additional security.

A spokeswoman from the East of England Co-op said: “We are continuously reviewing the security and safety of all our stores to help reduce the risk of any potential incidents, and as such are introducing physical barriers to the fronts of stores where deemed appropriate.”

The planning applications added the Co-op was “undertaking a programme of works to enhance the security of a number of their supermarkets in light of recent criminal attacks. Works include providing bollards to protect external automated teller machines (ATMs) and vulnerable shop fronts where appropriate.”

Stores in Earls Colne, Halstead, Great Bardfield and Brightlingsea were among those struck by raisers in Essex.

A spokeswoman from Suffolk police said that investigations into the incidents were ongoing, and were not ruling out the possibility that some of the strikes may have been linked.

A 29-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman from Essex were arrested in connection with a number of the Suffolk incidents in February, and were released under investigations while police continued their enquiries.

Figures from May revealed that the Co-op’s underlying trading profit fell from £4.4million to £2.4m for the year to January 28, although its overall turnover rose by £5.9m.

President Clive Mann at the time said the firm would “never hesitate to do what is right” by its staff.

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