A gang of up to 20 anti-social youths have been terrorising a shop at the heart of the community “every day” forcing it to shut its doors. 

The Co-op in Barker Street was forced to close early on Friday, September 22 over concerns for the safety of staff.

The store was open again today (Monday, September 25) after “unforeseen circumstances” kept it closed over the weekend.

Josie Samuels, team leader at the shop, said: “We’ve had a group of about 20 kids causing trouble recently - they’re in the store every day.

“We’ve really been targeted by them, but I’m sure they’re going to other shops in Worcester as well.

“On Friday, we had a customer confront some of them and we made the decision to close for the safety of our staff.

READ MORE: Upset after Co-op unexpectedly closes until further notice

“We’ve had conversations with the police, who are trying to deal with the situation.

“It’s a big group of teenage lads hanging around and it’s not just here, it’s a wider issue in the community.”

Residents, who did not want to be named, confirmed a group of youths had been responsible for anti-social behaviour in the area.

One said of the Co-op closing early: “What a shame for the entire community. It’s the heart of the area and a vital resource for everyone.”

A West Mercia Police spokesperson confirmed they had received a report of anti-social behaviour at the Barker Street Co-op on Friday, September 22.

Cllr Adrian Gregson said he was aware a gang of youths had frequently targeted the store.

He said: “A gang of lads have caused trouble, and I have heard it is a hotspot for shoplifting, and the police are aware.

“Teens, or late teens, are causing mayhem, which is a shame for the rest of us.”

Simon Fulton, commenting on the Worcester News website, said it’s about time the police “did something about that gang”.

“They’ve been given the powers to ban anti-social people from areas and if they break those bans it gives them more powers to take action against those people,” he said.