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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 13:35 GMT
Stores turn up the volume on yobs
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach's pacifying tones could deter troublemakers
The Co-op is attempting to crack down on anti-social behaviour outside some of its Scottish stores by giving yobs an earful - of classical music.

The chain brought in the loudspeakers in a bid to make the shops "less cool" and stop groups of troublemakers from hanging around nearby.

The plan has been launched in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, and Alness.

If successful, it is hoped to spread the Baroque offensive to other problem areas across Scotland.

Spokesman Gerard Hill said: "Where youths hang around there tends to be mischief and in certain circumstances this can lead on to attacks on staff and customers and vandalism. That is not unknown.

Sergey Rachmaninov
Rachmaninov Symphony No 2
Shostakovich Piano concerto no 2
Williams: Theme from Schindler's List
Beethoven Pastoral Symphony
Saint-Saens: The Swan

"It can be very intimidating for customers. This is just one of the tools we have to deal with anti-social behaviour around our stores."

Experts discovered that the piped classical music was most effective at deterring troublemakers, after carrying out tests using country tunes and jazz.

The Scottish move followed experiments in four stores in England, where the loudspeaker wires were cut in one case.

Co-op bosses have stressed the loudspeakers are mounted high up on the shop fronts in an effort to prevent yobs from putting in the boot on Bach and Beethoven.

Mr Hill added: "We tried different types of music and felt that classical seemed to be less cool for the youths to congregate in front of.

"From the findings of the pilot schemes, it is working. We're looking forward to hopefully being able to take it further throughout the whole of Scotland."

Glasgow Caledonian University psychologist Dr Raymond MacDonald said: "People will often use music as a badge of identification. It is important to their sense of self.

"So if they're faced with some music they don't like they will have a strong aversive response to it and remove themselves from that situation."

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