Co-op bosses have threatened to close one of their c-stores in Leicester because of the actions of a gang of young thugs who are terrorising the local community and driving away the store’s customers.

The future of the store, on the Thurnby Lodge estate, is at risk, according to the Midlands Co-operative Group, unless the gang’s intimidation of shoppers and staff can be stopped.

Midlands Co-operative Group manager Doug Coppin said that the store’s profits were being hit, particularly in the evenings.

He commented: “This gang is making life uncomfortable for our staff and customers. We have to think of the safety of our staff and we’re also regularly facing the cost of repairs caused by vandalism.”

Coppin said that the Co-op was working with the tenants’ association and police to try and reach a solution to the problem. He added that the company wanted to keep the store open if at all possible.

Thurnby Lodge Tenants’ Association spokesman Trevor Taylor commented: “If the Co-op pulls out, we’ll lose everything, because there’s also a post office and cash machine inside. We’re now collecting signatures on a petition to make sure something is done.”