STAFF at a newly opened supermarket have been left jobless at Christmas after it laid off workers without warning.

Asco Supermarket, on Sankey Street, told 12 employees the bad news less than two weeks after the store opened its doors, because it had employed too many people.

Mandy Richardson’s 17-year-old daughter Charlotte, of Statham Avenue, was one of those who was let go by the company.

She said: “I’m devastated, it’s the first job she’s managed to get and it’s Christmas. I feel so sorry for her.

“They said there’s no hours for them, go home. She was told at 11.15am on Tuesday and then she was escorted off the premises and had to get a taxi back home.”

Others had left jobs with different companies to work for Asco and now face with the prospect of no job at Christmas.

An ex-worker who did not want to be named added: “None of us expected it. They said ‘that is it, there’s going to be no more work for you’.

“I’m out of work and it’s a very hard time of the year with it being Christmas it makes it so much harder. Everybody was really upset to be going.

“Quite a few people had given up jobs to work there. They did say ‘we are really sorry for having to let you go’.”

The company had initially taken on 65 members of staff for the store opening and helped many people like Charlotte find work for the first time.

“With her first pay cheque the first thing she bought was a Nintendo Wii for her eight-year-old sister,” said her mum.

“I think they have gone about it the wrong way.”

Asco has said that with plans to open branches in St Helens and Runcorn it would turn to the 12 members of staff it has had to let go to help fill those stores.

Dave Laney, operations manager at Asco, said: “When I open other stores in the vicinity the first people I’m going to call on is the people we have trained up.

“I’m more disappointed than anybody that we found ourselves in this situation where we have over-employed and we have had to make some hard decisions.”