Suffolk

Co-op ram-raids: Plans for bollards at East of England stores

A car inside the Lavenham Co-op Village Shop
Image caption The Co-op Village Shop on Lavenham's High Street had a car abandoned inside it in December

A supermarket chain which has been the victim of a series of ram-raids in the last year has lodged planning applications to install more steel bollards outside its stores.

East of England Co-op had more than 10 of its stores across Essex and Suffolk hit by thieves targeting cash machines between 2017 and 2018.

In May, the firm reported a dent in its profits.

It said these were as a result of spending more on security measures.

Stores targeted in Suffolk included Debenham, Lavenham, Clare, Long Melford and Great Cornard in Suffolk.

Image copyright Dedham Parish Council
Image caption Dedham's Co-op was temporarily moved into the Duchy Barn in the village following the 10 December ram-raid

Branches in Sible Hedingham, Dedham, Earls Colne, Halstead, Great Bardfield and Brightlingsea were among those struck by raiders in Essex.

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.

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The Co-op put up a reward of £40,000 for information about the raids and a spokeswoman said it was continuously reviewing security measures.

Suffolk Police said its investigations were ongoing and they were not ruling out the possibility that some of the raids 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 investigation while police continued their inquiries.

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

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