Iceland employees have been “slapped, punched and threatened with weapons” amid the recent surge in shoplifting, the supermarket’s boss has said.
Executive chairman Richard Walker told the MailOnline: “Every single week I receive an average of 12 reports of ‘serious incidents’ where managers and other colleagues have been attacked in our stores, almost always by shoplifters.
“Colleagues are being slapped, punched and threatened with a range of weapons including knives, hammers, firearms and hypodermic needles.
“Other assaults have resulted in injuries ranging from a broken jaw to a fractured skull.”
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Co-op store employees are also facing record number of attacks, with violent assaults up 25%, according to the retailer’s campaigns and public affairs director Paul Gerrard.
“We are running at about a thousand incidents of shoplifting a day across our two and a half thousand stores.
“Four or five colleagues will be physically attacked every day,” Gerrard told the MailOnline.
“We’ve seen syringes, knives and we even saw a medieval mace a couple of years ago.”
The convenience store chain shared on Monday that it had hired undercover guards to patrol its shop floors to catch thieves.
Walker and Gerrard are the latest retail bosses to speak out about the rise in violent attacks towards store staff as a result of the increase in shoplifting.
John Lewis Partnership chair Sharon White described the recent boom as an “epidemic”, revealing yesterday that the surge in crime was costing the business £12m year on year.
Primark owner Associated British Foods chief executive George Weston called for tougher enforcement on shoplifters earlier this week as the fashion retailer experienced a record number of cases and assaults on workers.
He explained the retailer was introducing body cameras for staff, as well as increasing its CCTV and security guards to tackle the issue.