Rustic Appleby Magna, normally one of west Leicestershire's most tranquil communities, became a village racked by strike fever today. Angry housewives surged round to the Co-operative store – branch No 28 of the Coalville and District Co-operative Society – on duty as pickets to stop customers from entering. Police and union officials came and went, a strike petition was circulated and there were accusations of unfair treatment. But, 10 miles away, the official Coalville Co-operative Society view on the situation was made known and reflected none of the burning intensity of the village dispute. It merely said: "As far as we are concerned, there is no strike at Appleby Magna. The shop is open for business as usual." Trouble at Appleby flared on Saturday when the manager of the branch, Mr Reg Belleridge – employed by the society for 38 years – was told he was being moved immediately to Measham as an assistant. His four girl assistants, Miss Angela Sturgess, Miss Lorna Cater, Miss Ann Birkenhead and Miss Margaret Miller staged a lightning strike. Customers in the shop joined and branch No 28 was out of action. Soon after nine o'clock this morning, 30 people, mostly housewives, were on picket duty.