STAFF at a city convenience store have had rocks, pieces of wood and full drink cans thrown at them by irate customers, leaving some scared to come to work, a councillor said.

Richard Udall, who represents St Johns on the city and county councils, posted a photo on Facebook of a box of items thrown at staff workers at a shop in his ward during one day.

He now plans to put forward a motion to councillors on Tuesday to push Worcester City Council into taking more action to protect shop workers from abuse, threats and violence.

“It is quite horrific really, that staff are being verbally and physically abused every single day while they are just trying to do their jobs,” said Cllr Udall.

“They go to work every day knowing they are going to get abused, normally it is verbal but quite often it can be physical, and that’s not acceptable.”

He did not wish to name the shop where the photo had been taken, but said as well as items being thrown at them, one staff member told him how she had been “slapped in the face”.

While some had been followed home by abusive customers and one had resigned through fear.

“They are low paid workers and often unrepresented and completely vulnerable,” the councillor continued. “They have to accept it as part of the job, but it shouldn’t be like that.”

He said many shop employees “love doing their job but the threats force them to find alternative work”.

This time of year, with Christmas approaching, many customers “get frustrated” and then take out their anger on shop employees, only adding to the dread they feel, said Cllr Udall.

However, he said most often the abuse arises from staff trying to prevent age-restricted items to customers believed to be underage.

He believes people need to be better educated but the law needs to come down harder on this type of aggressor by categorising it higher, meaning greater penalties.

Police officers are being afforded more protection on the job by government legislation and Cllr Udall believes shop staff should do too. When asked if in the future employees will need body-worn cameras like police officers, he said he hoped that wouldn’t be necessary, but more needs doing to help catch those responsible.

“People are surprised about how much of a problem this actually is,” he said.

"Retail is the largest employer in Worcester...people like to shop here, we want to make it a safe place to visit and work."