Supermarket staff across Salford are having to put up with abuse due to the increase in shoplifting during recent months.

Co-op Media City, Image by Phoebe McHugh

Chris Clewlow, the team leader at Media City’s General Store, highlighted that he has seen a drastic increase in theft and crime rates since the end of the pandemic. As a result of this, colleagues have been subjected to abuse from shoplifters as workers feel like there is nothing they can do to prevent these issues.

He said: “He did turn violent one day, he went nose to nose with me, literally touching me. He was looking for a reaction, but if I do anything, I would lose my job. This was when we didn’t have security.”

Image taken by Phoebe McHugh

This has led the store to take their own measures in order to prevent further theft by reducing the amount of stock in certain departments, as well as security packaging to act as a deterrent.

Clewlow also explained: “The most targeted items are your high value goods, meats, butters, cheeses, alcohol and baby formula. We now have to put out reduced numbers of those and have dummy boxes.”

The lack of security presence within these stores has caused concern amongst retail staff, with Mr Clewlow reiterating the requirement and importance for staff safety.

He added: “It took us over a year to get a security guard, we were recording everything. Stores should have an AM and PM security guard. We are right next to Salford where crime is high, and they should be increasing this.”

Co-op director of operations, Kate McCrae Graham, stated: “Co-op continues to invest significantly in keeping colleagues and stores safe. This includes the latest CCTV; body-worn cameras, undercover guarding and, extending our use of dummy- anti-theft display cases to deter the incidents of ‘bulk-shoplifting’ or ‘looting’, as it has been described.”

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