A multinational firm has been criticised for claiming it could not afford £10 a week to join a community group.

Dozens of businesses in St James’s Street area of Brighton have signed up to the city’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership as a way to club together and reduce antisocial behaviour for the greater good.

But, despite its parent company making a profit of more than £1 billion a year, the local Tesco Express told community activists it could not afford the cost.


After receiving the knock-back, locals have questioned the multinational’s commitment to making the area better for everyone.

Steve Parry, who sits on the St James’s Community Action Group Policing Working Group, wrote to the firm’s chief executive Philip Clarke. The letter in Mr Parry’s name said: “We have in Brighton and Hove, as in many other parts of the UK, a Business Crime Reduction Partnership that is extremely effective.

“In St James’s Street we have a number of major retail companies represented as well as many one-person-owned businesses.

“As with most areas having similar demographics to ours we have a serious problem with shoplifting and associated antisocial behaviour, largely centred on drug and alcohol abuse.

“We are making progress but this is hindered by the lack of support from a very limited number of traders. When information is shared between retailers within the BCRP it is most effective when used by all shops in the area. Unfortunately Tesco Express on St James’ Street is one of the few businesses declining to work with the local community and, worse of all, has stated that the reason for not joining the BCRP is one of cost (£8 + VAT per week).

“Even very small retailers recognise that this minute cost is more than recouped on a daily basis as a result of shoplifting prevented by the work of the Brighton and Hove Partnership.”

In response, a Tesco spokeswoman said: “We are always willing to work with local businesses and residents to the help improve the community. We’re in contact with the BCRP and are happy to discuss ways we can continue to work together.”