Shops held up as newsagents discuss retail crime with MSPs

Scottish Parliament building

As independent retailers met politicians at the Scottish Parliament to discuss concerns about soaring incidents of retail crime, a nine-year-old boy was held at knifepoint during a robbery in his father’s shop less than two miles from Holyrood.

A masked woman threatened to harm Manand Patel with a 14-inch knife if he did not open the till, and warned she would kill his father and uncle if they tried to rescue him. Despite this, the boy’s father pushed the woman aside and jumped over the counter to protect his terrified son.

The woman and her hooded male accomplice then fled the Nairne Convenience Store in Willowbrae, Edinburgh.

Two days later, a 77-year-old shopkeeper was hit over the head with a metal bar after refusing to empty his till for two robbers who burst into Restalrig Village Store, also in Edinburgh. The robbers escaped with a bundle of scratchcards.

NFRN Chief Executive Paul Baxter said the crimes were totally unacceptable, and added: “We call on all the MSPs present at our Holyrood reception and politicians and police everywhere to make sure that the whole issue of retail crime is addressed and quickly.”

Baxter called for tougher penalties for those who rob or steal from shops, and for the creation of a special offence for the assault of a retail worker.

“Independent retailers, their staff and their families have a right to feel protected when serving in their stores,” he concluded.