Sports Direct and JD Staff head-butted and bitten by violent shoplifters, probe reveals

Sports Direct and JD Staff head-butted and bitten by violent shoplifters, probe reveals
Sports Direct and JD Staff head-butted and bitten by violent shoplifters, probe reveals

STAFF at Sports Direct and JD Sports have been head-butted, bitten, punched, elbowed and threatened with weapons, a Sun probe has found.

Retail workers at the stores have suffered several assaults per week at the hands of violent shoplifters – including one who had a bottle of Prime thrown at them.

A probe has found that retail workers at Sports Direct and JD Sports have suffered several assaults per week at the hands of violent shopliftersCredit: PA
Violent thieves are thought to target sports shops as their merchandise can be easily sold on the black marketCredit: Getty

In one case, a Sports Direct employee needed a CT scan after they were battered over the head by a thief.

The attack was logged by West Mercia Police and revealed to us after Freedom of Information requests.

The same force also reported an incident where a Sports Direct manager was assaulted by a young female who “swung her around” by her hair before punching her in the face.

Violent thieves are thought to target sports shops as their merchandise – including trainers and designer clothes – can easily be sold on the black market.

In Bedfordshire, police were called after a customer threw a bottle of Prime at an employee, causing bruising and swelling.

Another incident in the same area saw a male shoplifter elbow a female store manager after being caught red-handed.

Essex Police said one suspect swung a bat at a staff member in Sports Direct.

And at another Sports Direct store in the county, a shoplifter dragged an employee to the ground and punched them in the nose after being caught trying to steal clothes

A youth head-butted a Sports Direct worker in Lincolnshire, while another threatened to stab a member of staff in the same area.

Devon and Cornwall Police had a case where a JD Sports worker was bitten after confronting a shop-lifter.

In one case, an offender elbowed a store manager after trying to steal productsCredit: Getty

Northumbria Police revealed one case where an offender elbowed a store manager after trying to steal products and another where a thief tried to run over an employee while escaping.

And Humberside Police reported that a male and female pair punched and spat at staff at Sports Direct when confronted over a £300 coat theft.

In total, there were 137 assaults recorded – around three a week – with Sports Direct reporting 87 incidents and JD Sports 50.

But the true stats would be higher – as police forces including London’s Met, Merseyside, Hampshire and Sussex did not provide information.

A spokesperson from Frasers Group, the parent company for Sports Direct, said: “The safety and security of our staff is our utmost priority.

“We have seen a rise in retail crime across the UK and we continue to introduce additional measures within our stores to help protect our teams.”

A JD spokesperson said: “It should never be part of anyone’s job to endure violence or abuse.

“We take any incidents extremely seriously.”

Paddy Lillis, General Secretary of the shopworkers’ union USDAW, said: “We are facing an epidemic of retail crime, which is hugely concerning.

“Shoplifting is not a victimless crime and theft from shops has long been a major flashpoint for violence and abuse against shopworkers.”

 
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