Crosspool shopkeepers sell business after misbehaving students cause problems

Owners of a fruit and vegetable shop in Crosspool have put their business up for sale because they cannot cope with the behaviour of local school pupils on the high street.

Norman and Jenna Voyce, owners of Crosspool Fruit and Veg, have run the shop for the past 18 years but said they have put the business on the market, partly because they cannot deal with pupils’ behaviour.

There are two schools in the area, Tapton Academy and King Edwards VII, and students from both schools come to the high street during lunchtime and after school.

Shopkeepers claimed students from Tapton have caused the most problems, particularly after school when they come to catch the bus home.

Mr Voyce said: “They’re hanging about in groups. It happens this time every year but this year has been particularly bad.

“The school are not admitting to a problem. They send teachers up and they just pop their head in, but there’s been a lot of fighting between the school children lately.

“Its very chaotic […] they just run across the road and they’ve no respect for drivers or anything like that.”

Mr Voyce said the behaviour has caused problems for local residents, adding: “Residents don’t come in the shops anymore. The elderly people try to avoid the areas at dinnertime and teatime. They’re ruining the area.”

Several other business owners in Crosspool have echoed their concerns about the behaviour of the pupils and the effect it has on the well-being of the high street.

Philip Smith, owner of Philip James Butcher, said that students come into his shop where they attempt to harrass the staff. They also leave large amounts of litter on the pavement.

“The litter, the rubbish outside where they’ve been is horrendous. I feel so sorry for the local people,” he said.

According to several business owners, this has been a problem for a few years.

In the past, the schools have responded to complaints by sending teachers to observe the pupils during lunch and after school to prevent incidents.

For the shopkeepers, however, the presence of staff is not as regular as they would like and has not resolved the issue.

Kathryn Thackray, owner of Flower Design Crosspool, said: “Occasionally the teachers come out to try and direct them onto the buses, but the minute the teachers aren’t there they’re just hell for leather.

“Last week, they tend to sit on top of the buses, they were all banging on the windows. There’s kids down here that are shouting abuse up to them, they’re shouting abuse back.”

Ms Thackray said the only solution would be to prevent the students from coming to the high street at all, but many of the shops rely on the daily income from them.

Mr Voyce said: “It needs younger blood. We’re nearly 60 now, kids don’t relate to people like us. Its not like it was when we first started selling sweets.”

The schools were unavailable for comment.