Newsagents `armed' against shop attacks

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The Independent Online
One in three newsagents keeps a weapon in his or her shop in case of attack and almost three-quarters of the trade fear for their personal safety at work, a survey reveals today.

The most common weapons kept under the counter are a baseball or cricket bat, a stick or club, an iron bar or a truncheon. But a smaller proportion also keep knives and hammers.

Three-quarters of the newsagents cite the National Lottery as a reason for feeling more vulnerable than ever to attack, according to the survey by the National Magazine Company and CTN, a magazine for newsagents.

The poll found that 43 per cent of newsagents had been threatened in their shop and 16 per cent physically assaulted, with that figure rising to 28 per cent in London and the South- east.

One in four newsagents claimed to have been robbed or held up in the last five years. Of those, 34 per cent had been robbed at knife point and 16 per cent at gun point.

The survey also revealed the long hours worked by the trade. Typically starting at 5.35am and finishing at 7.10pm, newsagents work an average 77 hours a week.

Three-quarters of the 218 respondents worked a seven-day week, with an average of 11 days holiday a year. Almost the same number said they found their work "stressful", with long hours the worst aspect of the job, followed closely by having to get up early, and dealing with rude customers.