Martin Whitfield MSP has paid a special thank-you to shop staff as part of a campaign to tackle crime and encourage greater respect for retailers.

He visited Day-Today Ashiqs in Prestonpans with Anas Sarwar MSP to show support for a drive by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) urging everyone to #SayThanks the next time they are in their local convenience store.

People are being urged to show their gratitude for all that shop workers have done for them and their community – particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic – after a new law came into force.

The Protection of Workers Act gives stronger protection to retail staff across Scotland who suffer threats, abuse or assaults and has been widely welcomed across the sector.

SGF is highlighting the new measures through it’s Don’t Put Up With It Campaign, urging retailers to report every crime they witness in their shops, as well as urging customers to thank the people who serve them.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Retail workers generally work long hours, often under difficult circumstances, at the best of times. During the pandemic they have continued to provide a vital service, often putting themselves and their families at greater risk.

“Threats, abuse or violence against retail workers are never acceptable. I warmly welcome the new Protection of Workers Act and the additional legal protection it gives to shop workers.

“I also welcome the campaigns being run by the SGF and join them in urging people to take a moment to #SayThanks to the staff at their local shop. After all they do for local communities, they deserve our gratitude and support and saying thanks is the least we can do.”

The Don’t Put Up With It campaign is being made possible as part of a £50,000 package from the Scottish Government to tackle retail crime. SGF is working with the charity Crimestoppers, its youth programme Fearless and Police Scotland to spread the message.

SGF Chief Executive Dr Pete Cheema said:

“The simple act of saying thanks can make a remarkable difference to a retail worker’s day.

“Local convenience stores really stepped up to the plate during Covid, making immediate alterations to their stores to keep them open, make them Covid-safe, and service the local communities who needed them the most.

“So, the next time you pop around the corner for some essential supplies, #SayThanks. If you’re grateful that your local store is there; if you’re grateful they’ve been there during the pandemic; if you want them to stay there as long as you are, #SayThanks.

“And, if you do witness a crime in a shop, please support your local retailer by sharing information and help bring those responsible to justice.”

To find out more about the campaign and find out how you can show your support, go to Follow #DontPutUpWithIt and #SayThanks on social media.

Details about crimes should be reported to Police Scotland on 101. Call 999 in an emergency. Information about those responsible for offences can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.