A LOCAL councillor has reassured the community following a burglary at a town store.

Three men broke into the Co-op store in Helmsley in the early hours of Sunday, July 30.

Three men, dressed in dark clothing and face coverings, broke into the front entrance of the store using a crowbar.

Helmsley’s representative on North Yorkshire Council, George Jabbour, said: “I would like to reassure our community that despite this shocking incident, Helmsley continues to be one of the safest areas in North Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire remains one of the safest counties in the whole country.

“Having said that, I have already been working closely with both North Yorkshire Police and the Council over the past few months to find a way to increase police presence and visibility in our thriving market town. I hope that this project will come to fruition soon.”

This week it was reported that staff at Co-op stores across the country have faced "out-of-control crime" in shops, with almost 1,000 incidents recorded every day in the first six months of 2023.

Shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and incidents of "looting" have increased by over a third at Co-op stores in the last year.

The company revealed there were more than 175,000 incidents from January to June, 2023 - almost 1,000 every day - and its managing director has said his staff "feel scared and threatened."

The Co-op also revealed that front-line store workers have seen physical assaults increase year-on-year by almost a third and, anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse by a fifth.

Matt Hood, Co-op Food managing director, said: “We know retail crime is driven by repeat and prolific offenders and, organised criminal gangs.

“It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and in the worst instances can even be described as ‘looting’.

“Co-op has invested significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe, but we need the police to play their part.

“Too often, forces fail to respond to desperate calls by our store teams, and criminals are operating in communities without any fear of consequences.”

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said they were appealing for information after three men broke into the Co-op store in Helmsley at approximately 2.30am hours on Sunday, July 30.

"Three men, dressed in dark clothing and face coverings, broke into the front entrance of the store using a crowbar.

The spokesperson said: "Did you see anything suspicious around the time of the incident?

"If so please email either PC Craig Hardcastle craig.hardcastle@northyorkshire.police.uk or PC Alex Warren alex.warren@northyorkshire.police.uk "You can also call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for either Craig Hardcastle or Alex Warren.

"If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12230141753 when passing on information."