Staff at a Lichfield shop have been left “shocked and appalled” after a female worker was struck in the face by a customer.

The Central England Co-op store on Curborough Road

The incident happened at Central England Co-op’s store on Curborough Road.

After the male customer was asked for ID to buy age-restricted items, he became aggressive towards staff, striking the worker in the face as he pushed her and threatening her colleagues before leaving the store

Police are now investigating the incident.

Craig Goldie, from Central England Co-op said: said:

“Everyone has been shocked and appalled at this unacceptable incident in Lichfield.

“It is totally unacceptable for a colleague to be injured in any way, shape or form when doing their job and we are offering full support to them and the entire team and working closely with the local police force to bring the criminals responsible to justice.

“We strongly condemn any form of abuse or violence towards our colleagues who are just doing their job.

“These types of incidents reinforce our ongoing campaign calling for better protection for shopworkers and highlights our zero tolerance policy on all types of crime aimed at our colleagues and customers.

“Once again, we are sending a clear message out to anyone who might consider targeting our colleagues and stores – it is not worth the risk and no crime will be tolerated.”

Craig Goldie, Central England Co-op

The incident comes as the Lichfield-based retailer launched a poster competition for children to help illustrate the need for people to be kind to shop workers.

It comes after research showed that over the past 12 months incidents of verbal abuse jumped by 167%, anti-social behaviour by 39%, assaults by 35% and threats by 16%.

The retailer also revealed that 312 crimes related directly to Covid-19 have been recorded in stores since the start of the pandemic.

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31 Comments

  1. This is outrageous. This is my local shop, and those staff are consistently friendly, professional and wonderful.
    I can’t tell you what I’d do to that scrote but I will by going along there tomorrow to offer my support and some flowers or something to those shop staff, who often brighten my day.

  2. Totally agree with Steve, I’m a regular at this Coop, and the staff are all fabulous, and a credit to the store. What a scumbag, hope they catch him.

  3. Yes, this is unacceptable!! On the other hand my 20 year old son was denied a sale of Bailey Cream because ‘he didn’t look like the person on his ID document’. Perhaps this is the time to change some policies to determine these restrictions. That might help minimise these unfortunate incidences.

  4. How sad a Shopworker as be assaulted for just carrying out her role ,under ID Policy. The offending Customer should when caught be prosecuted. Be kind Customers,to the Dear Shopworkers.

  5. Well suprised they ain’t appealed to the public with a picture so pixilated it looks like a PlayStation 1 game. I guess if they canny fine you on the spot you ain’t getting charged mate, no wonder crimes going up

  6. Sending hugs along to this young lady. Let’s hope they find him quickly and justice is done. To the rest of the staff, this idiot is in a minority and please don’t let him spoil your wonderful store x

  7. It is important that the person in question here, the one who was abused whilst doing her job and earning her living whilst serving the community, was debriefed after the incident and is receiving appropriate treatment if necessary. I am sure the store in question, an ethical employer, is doing whatever appropriate to help their member of staff. I wish her the best of health and a good recovery. Let’s hope that the aggressor will receive whatever help he needs to change his attitude and his behaviour whatever form that may take. I can only empathise with the female shop worker in question having experienced something similar during the course of my working life and I can completely understand how she might be feeling following the incident. Abusive and aggressive behavior towards females isn’t restricted to shop staff however or such behaviour towards females perpetrated only by members of the general public. The truth is abusive and aggressive behaviour can have much more of an impact and the effects more dangerous when perpetrated by a person in a position of power. This is because of the structural nature of power in our society as I was trying to allude to in another of my comments here on Lichfield Live yesterday. Abusive and aggressive behaviour towards females can take many forms and doesn’t have to have been ‘actually committed’ to cause mental health problems. I know this for a fact from my own experience. Neither does such behavior have to be physical to have long lasting effects. The emotional and/or psychological effects of aggressive behaviour can lead to mental health problems especially if left undiagnosed and untreated. This is the reason the nature of it needs to be understood. Aggressive behaviour towards females who are only doing their job, or merely expressing their opinions or views, can have even more impact when committed by an individual in a position of power. As I was trying to allude to in another comment I made yesterday on another issue here on Lichfield Live. Abusive and aggressive behavior can take many forms as I well know from my own experiences. It doesn’t have to be physical to cause a great deal of harm, distress and damage to the individual concerned, their family and the wider community. Indeed such incidents can induce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), often experienced by our wonderful serving soldiers, our police officers, our fire officers and others working in or experiencing risky and dangerous situations. Indeed it was a serving soldier gone awol many years ago after a tour of duty in Afghanistan who first brought PTSD to my attention. Though I only later became aware of the nature of his PTSD through my own experience of it, I knew at the time that this soldier was suffering and needed help more than punishment. Very little was known of PTSD back then. Fortunately that is not the case now. Many of those I mention here who serve the public and our country performing their duties will know exactly what I am talking about. I was informed several years ago that most individuals who suffer PTSD find recovery difficult nigh on impossible. Indeed many may not survive the damage done which can effect the whole of their lives. Luckily because of someone I knew, a sensitive caring man who himself unwittingly understood the nature of PTSD, having suffered abuse himself when a child, I was able with his help to make that come back. To tell the story that abusive and aggressive behaviour towards those performing their jobs, doing their duty, including those vulnerable within the confines of the family and the home is never warranted and can never be considered acceptable in a civilised society. Let’s help make our society a much better one. A better one for all of us living here. For that to happen there needs to be change. That change needs to happen from within.

  8. Do I need to add that I also had a wonderful caring understanding ‘NHS’ GP who also aided my recovery. Thank goodness for small mercies.

  9. Part of the rise in antisocial behaviour, with the lockdown used as an excuse by offenders. And if the police do catch him, what will he get? A community order or suspended sentence? Pathetic. Until the punishment fits the crime we will continue to see this. Back in the days when court cases were reported, it became evident that you could be punished more for not having a TV licence than beating someone up. A refocusing of priorities is needed. A derisory sentence is likely to add to the distress of the assaulted person, with the fear that the offender is still free to commit such acts.

  10. But why is an attack on a female shopworker being portrayed as something worse than if a male shopworker had been struck in the face? Lichfield Live also states in its report that the attacker was male, this when I know lots of women who can throw a punch just as hard as a man.

  11. The staff in this shop are outstanding the way they treat customers they just wouldnt expect this to happen so were not prepared to protect themselves, this horrible person knew exactly what he was doing and wanted what he couldnt have well done to the staff member who carried out their duty to the full but was injured, they must not be left in this sittuatuon they did have a security guard there obviuosly he needs to be there still my thoughts are with the staff

  12. @Andrew Carmichael – I’m a woman and a feminist, but there’s no sense in denying that women are generally less physically strong than men, it’s not an equal contest. It’s debatable whether this scumbag would have used his fists on a guy of his own size. Also, there is a power imbalance between customers and staff, with staff being expected to serve and be deferential and ‘nice’ – this affects male staff too, of course, but more women than men tend to work in these low-paid service industry roles. In my experience, girls are not taught to fight or be aggressive, and if they behave in this way they are more likely to be frowned upon and censured than boys.

    Having said that, I have known female martial artists who can hit harder than most guys, and I hope that if the Co-Op offender isn’t apprehended that he tries his tricks with one of these ladies and gets what’s coming to him!

    @Carol Smith – this is my local store, albeit I’ve avoided it for some time as I’m trying to stay away from maskless idiots at the moment, and I am not aware of them having a security guard. I think they could do with one. Other regular visitors to the store may know better than me, though, so please tell me if I am wrong!

  13. Hann1bal56, 10 out of 10. Go to the back of the class. You obviously think that the assault on the member of staff at the store isn’t a serious issue. Which implies that you are no better than the person who perpetrated it.

  14. I have worked in retail for many years and have never experienced so much abuse and threats. It is not companies policies that make so many rules it is LAW,if retailers do not comply there are huge personal fines and sometimes prison sentences that are issued for failure in compliance.So many men and women are facing abuse and assaults whilst working in the public domain and it needs to stop.The law has to start making examples of these people whether it’s alcohol or drug induced states where they carry out these acts of aggression when refused buying restricted items.If you don’t look 25 you will be ID and unless you produce a valid passport or driving licence you will refused. Everyone working in public sectors during this pandemic have provided amazing service and do not deserve to be treated in such an appalling manor.

  15. They need to release pictures of the offender, some one is bound to recognize him, as other are saying the staff are friendly and do not deserve bad attitudes

  16. Oh Megan, for goodness’ sake, lighten up.

    Hann1bal56 teasing you about the length of what was indeed a long and rambling post is hardly the same as the unprovoked physical attack reported in this article. I would suggest that it’s you belittling the assault by suggesting the two are comparable.

  17. Hann1bal56… you could try but…. I only hug those who I know really mean it. How does that fit with your equation hahaha

  18. Asellus Aquaticus, your code name is a bit much. Can you shorten it to Asellus for goodness sake. If you were to but know you would realise that I gave as good as I got. Hahaha. Don’t try it on with me. I’m an ‘old soul’ as my one time yoga teacher at Four Oaks told me. Bless him. Got me to stretch my muscles further than ever before by extreme warming up. Amazing experience to feel your muscles stretching when they have softened up. Any road up I hope the young woman in question recovers the best she can. Btw the person involved in my own incident of PTSD though I knew his ‘intention’ at the time, went on 5 months later to attempt to strangle his partner. I guess you will understand why I take these issues seriously. And Chris Hamilton I agree with the Restorative Justice but not the naming and shaming. I’m reminded of the olden days of hang em up before they are tried. Anyway everyone deserves a fair chance to prove they are capable of proving themselves a better person. Who knows he may be the one to change the world. I’m not a a Saint so who am I to judge anyone else.

  19. Yes this is appalling, but I’d be interested to know what Craig Goldie feels is missing from our already bulging statute books, that would help prevent this incident or prosecute an offender?

  20. No Chris Hamilton. I must emphasise NOT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE in such cases. Unless policy has changed. Personally I would not use restorative justice as a means of dealing with this type of behaviour. I say this because offending like this, violence against women, involves a particular form of behaviour, one that is a means of exerting power and control. If I were to surmise I could say that this offence was about putting the female who wasn’t complying with the man in her ‘rightful place’ – subjugated. I could be wrong but I think not. One consequence might be that the victim is feeling somehow that she was at fault, a common factor. But this is never the case and why this shop worker needed debriefing following the incident with follow up counselling to reassure her afterwards. Such violence is never justified. To put the victim back into the same room as the perpetrator could be even more damaging especially if she is feeling particularly vulnerable and traumatised. Often it is only much later that the true extent of the damage is felt. There are other ways of dealing with this man’s behaviour. Restorative Justice can work in respect of other instances of offending but not this kind. I want to add also that in my previous comment in regard to the incident I mentioned involving myself that man’s next victim, the one he attempted to strangle 5 months later, his partner, was a woman. Forgive me for ‘rambling’ and being ‘serious’ but I kind of think that violence against women especially shop workers at the front line is an extremely important issue.

  21. I would include violence against male shop workers at the front line as an extremely important issue. With the same debriefing and follow up work necessary for the victims. As I said violence and aggressive behaviour especially against those doing their jobs is never justified. Those who commit such behaviour must be held to account.

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