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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Shops go classical to combat yobs
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach: a deterrent for 21st century vandals?
Co-op shops have a new deterrent to stop gangs of youths gathering outside stores - they play classical music.

A pilot experiment is under way at four shops in Bristol, Andover, Worcester and north Wales to curb frequent acts of violence and intimidation.

Managers say they are optimistic after recording a drop in the number of yobs hanging around at night.

But the loudspeakers' wires in Bristol were cut last week in what could become a costly form of retaliation.

Shop doorways often become meeting points for young people in the late evening and vandalism attacks are quite frequent.

One in three Co-op stores have suffered violent attacks against staff last year, a survey by the retailer has suggested.

"Our aim is to deter youngsters from gathering outside our stores at night, because they often cause nuisance to both customers and members of staff," a spokesman for Co-op told BBC News Online.

He added that similar schemes had already been successfully rolled out overseas.


Yobs might have already found an easy way of neutralising the unwanted soundtrack of Baroque music to their meetings.

A teenager interviewed by the Evening Post in Bristol said: "I don't like the music playing - but you could just cut the wires."

But Co-op central services manager Julia Rogers believes the problem could be prevented by better protecting the sound systems.

"We have been testing out a casing for the wires at another problematic store and that seems to be working," she said.

"If this works, you can expect to see a lot more of it."

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