Tesco  staff have been told not to approach beggars and street drinkers hanging out around the store because they are ‘armed’.

The store’s workers have also been told for their safety not to go in the store’s underground car park unless they are in ‘pairs’ .

Even security staff have been told not to tackle any misbehaviour not directly in the store or in the car park because it is owned by the council.

The missive was  revealed in a letter to a customer who had complained to  Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis about being accosted and intimidated by street drinkers and beggars.

One man reported that open drug dealing was taking place in the entrance to the store while street drinkers had congregated in the stairwell into the carpark and started fighting. Another shopper, a father said he wouldn’t use the store again after a disturbing encounter with a middle-aged couple in the underground car park while he was with his nine-year-old daughter.

It comes amidst a range of complaints about lack of investment in the store which last month temporarily had to close during the day after it flooded and the freezers packed up. 

Customers reported that it was raining in the store and the aisles were flooded because the ’fire vents’ had been left open! Other complained about the frequent check out queues and the ATMs being vandalised or broken

In response  to a customer’s complaint Lesley Mcrae, Customer Service Specialist, on behalf of the Executive’s Office responded: “ I was very concerned to hear of the conditions and incidents you have noticed at this store and I wouldn’t like to shop in these conditions either.

“Having spoken and reviewed the details of your email with Marcin Glowacki, our Store Manager who agrees with a lot of the comments.

“He is aware of the problems with antisocial behaviour in the area. The welfare and safety of our colleagues is of utmost importance to us and staff are advised not to approach in certain circumstances as a lot of the people causing the problems are armed. 

“Security are told to be vigil but again not to approach if outside the store. All incidents are fully reported to head office and the police to highlight the problems in the area. Also the ATM have been targeted and incident concerning this facility is logged with the relevant banking authorities.

“As discussed the car park and the outer area of the store is council owned so we can not take any action regarding the ventilation or the beggars using this area.” 

The supermarket own the freehold for the site, which includes the Kettering and Laxton Court council housing flats but The Chronicle understands that the car park is leased to the council. 

The council, councillors, and police have all met with Tesco to discuss issues with the store and action promised but nothing has changed.

In the last week the council regeneration team have  met with senior Tesco executives to discuss improvements to the store as part of the wider  regeneration of Brigstock Road and Tesco acknowledged the security of the car park was the store’s responsibility.