The Co-operative Group has opened three new c-stores with a difference as part of an initiative to help youngsters stay out of trouble.

The stores, which are based in new interactive education centres in Wales and Somerset, come complete with stocked shelves and shop fronts like any normal Co-op Welcome store, but have no staff and won’t sell a thing. The mocked-up outlets will instead be used to teach children about issues such retail crime, anti-social behaviour and age-restricted sales, as will other realistic settings in the centres, such as railway lines, public transport and construction sites.

The company has not ruled out placing more mocked-up stores in similar educational centres throughout the UK. Co-operative Group central services general manager Julia Rogers said: “The Co-op is committed to child safety and doing all it can to reduce problems with crime and anti-social behaviour. Education is key in achieving that objective, and these innovative centres are excellent resources.”