A SUPERMARKET giant has vowed to secure a “dangerous” site earmarked for a new store after reports of children vandalising a building.

The old Co-op store, in Abbot’s Road, Colchester, has been blighted with break-ins and vandalism since the shop closed for business in September.

Residents living nearby have complained of youngsters breaking into the vacant building, causing damage and dragging items on to nearby fields.

One neighbour, who lives nearby but asked not to be named, called for action to be taken urgently to make the building - and the perpetrators - safe.

He said: “The old Co-op, on Abbots Road, due to become Lidl, is just behind where we live.

“The other night there were kids in there, all the doors were open and they were vandalising the place.

“I really do wish something could be done, and soon.

“I have reported it three times now and one of those times the kids have actually been in there when I called, yet the police take so long to get here they have gone.”

He added: “Before long a child will get injured in the building or a fire will be started.”

Supermarket bosses want to knock down the old store and replace it with a new purpose-built supermarket.

The proposals for the new store, which will create around 40 jobs, also include a 114 space car park including five disabled bays and seven parent and child spaces.

Lidl has said it hopes the new store would be similar to its Gosbecks store in Colchester, which opened in September after several years of planning.

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor for Old Heath and the Hythe, said he and fellow Labour councillor Lee Scordis had paid a visit to the site after hearing of residents’ concerns.

They said they were aware of some of the problems and hoped plans for the new building would be approved soon.

“We are desperately waiting for planning permission to go through so Lidl can get started with demolishing the building,” Mr Lilley said.

“We are aware of incidents over the past two weeks involving children breaking through the fire doors and taking items and dumping them on the Wick.

“When Lee and I visited the site, the routes into the store had thankfully been secured.”

A spokesman for Lidl said the company had re-secured all possible access points to the building in the meantime.

He said: “Health and safety is of the upmost importance to us and we can confirm that all access points to the property were re-secured as soon as we became aware of the vandalism.

“We are also in the process of putting up hoarding around the site to provide an additional layer of security.”