A SHOP worker has spoken of how she is campaigning for retail workers to have more protections, after she revealed she and her staff are abused and intimidated nearly daily.

Jo Crumplin, who works at a Co-op in Northumberland said she is subjected to almost daily verbal abuse and intimidation while at work, which has only got worse during the pandemic.

Jo has been campaigning to get a bill passed to protect retail workers.

Matt Vickers also campaigned and voted on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would make abusing retail workers an offence, where a person could be charged.

READ MORE: Town's first 'tiger crossing' opens with road safety mascot, Safety Squirrel

The Bill has now gone to the House of Lords.

Jo said: "The incidents that have happened to me are the same as a lot of colleagues, the fact that Covid has been weaponised - threatened to being coughed on because you ask people to social distance.

"We don't enforce wearing masks in Co-op, we politely request that people do wear them, but there have been instances around that.

"It's a pretty much every day occurrence that we have to deal with shoplifters. I've had colleagues threatened to be bottled if they dare come near them. We had a guy, basically say he was going to steal spirits off the shelf and he went towards a member of staff and said 'if you follow me I'm going to bottle you' it's hard. I mean the majority of customers are great but unfortunately there is this element."

Co-op do not directly enforce mask-wearing.

Jo said: "When they brought the legislation in that customers have to wear masks that was Government legislation it was the police to enforce. We're not enforcing because our staff put themselves in a situation where it can flag up abuse. We have signage within the store and at the front of the stores for people to wear masks, we provide them in stores.

"But we cannot turn round and say to people you must wear a mask, we haven't done that within Co-op.

"Staff have got enough to put up with, you've got to bear in mind we're talking about people who have worked throughout this pandemic and lockdown. When the Government decided to bring in legislation to say that masks had to be worn that was something that everybody was aware of."

Mr Vickers said: "I'm delighted that the Government has committed to legislate to protect retail workers. A heartfelt thank you goes to everyone else that supported this important amendment.

"We expect shop workers to enforce the law, whether that is the semi-retired cashier checking ID or the young shelf stacker in their first job asking someone to wear a mask. It is only right that the law protects them in the exercise of their duties.

“Our shop workers have been on the front line during this pandemic and I'm delighted that the government has recognised that the law must go further to protect them."

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Teesside Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054