Criminals who abuse or attack shop workers must face automatic jail terms, says Union boss

11 October 2023, 09:51

Paddy Lillis told LBC of the rise in violent attacks against shop workers
Paddy Lillis told LBC of the rise in violent attacks against shop workers. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Asher McShane

Criminals who abuse or attack people working in shops must face automatic prison terms, the head of the shop workers’ union has told LBC.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

USDAW General Secretary Paddy Lillis spoke to Nick Ferrari from the Labour Party conference where supermarket thefts are “easy money” for organised crime gangs.

He said he wanted to ensure that police turn up even when goods worth less than £200 have been stolen.

He also condemned rising violence against shop workers: “We’ve seen recently a shop assistant who stepped in to help stop a young girl on a till being abused stabbed in the eye with a screwdriver before he even got the words out of his mouth. Someone’s life ruined.

Read more: Hamas' actions are 'terrorism' and Israel 'has the right to defend herself,' says Starmer as he defends Gaza siege

Read more: Chaos at Luton Airport: Moment car park collapses in huge blaze as up to 1,200 cars damaged and all flights suspended

Usdaw discuss shoplifting with Nick Ferrari

These are people who live in the community, work in the community. The mind boggles at this behaviour,” he said.

He condemned the ‘epidemic’ of retail crime.

“There’s upwards of 1,000 incidents every day of abuse, threats and violence against retail staff.”

He said shops spent £1.8bn last year in terms of theft and putting extra security measures in.

“In 21st century Britain we have retail workers running around with body cams and stab proof vests. What sort of communities are we living in in this day and age?

“Violent gangs move around, they are not daft. They get in, they are stealing, it’s easy money for them.

“You go and rob a post office you get 10 years. You go in rob a supermarket you get a smack on the wrist.”

He wants to see criminals who abuse or attack shop workers facing automatic prison sentences.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants to "reverse the de-prioritisation of shoplifting under £200 and create a new specific offence of assault against shop workers".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Police at the scene after officers shot a man threatening football fans in Hamburg

Man shot by police after threatening football fans with 'axe and molotov cocktail' in Euro 2024 fan zone

Labour's Wes Streeting has called for a debate with Nigel Farage

Labour's Wes Streeting calls for debate with Nigel Farage to take on 'toxic rhetoric' of Reform leader in 'battle of ideas'

Prince William's children have sent him a Father's Day message

'We love you papa': George, Charlotte and Louis send Prince William Father's Day message in first social media post

Labour and the Conservatives would leave the NHS 'worse off than under austerity', the Nuffield Trust has warned

Labour and Tories would leave NHS 'worse off' than under austerity, health think tank warns

Exclusive
Mark Harper has admitted there is a 'hard fight ahead' for the Conservatives to win the election

Minister admits 'hard fight ahead' as poll suggests 'Tory extinction' - but says no deal to be done with Farage

William and Charles have shared Father's Day messages

Prince William sends touching Father's Day message to Charles with new photo, as King also shares childhood video

Labour and the Conservatives will face off in the July 4 election

Labour landslide could see Tories winning just 72 seats, poll finds, as Rishi Sunak's party faces 'electoral extinction'

Live
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

General Election LIVE: Poll suggests Tory wipe-out on July 4, as Sunak insists 'only election itself matters'

Exclusive
Pooja Kanda with Ronan

Mother of murdered son urges online shops to stop selling knives voluntarily if laws won't ban them

Israel has paused fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Israel announces 'tactical pause' in fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Rishi Sunak said his faith guides him

Rishi Sunak says 'Hindu faith and duty' guide him as PM, and insists he is patriotic despite Nigel Farage's attacks

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved in 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute