A UNION has vowed to fight to protect lone shop workers from an increasing catalogue of attacks.
Shop assistants have been threatened with syringes, knives, and screwdrivers, revealed Mike Brewer, north eastern divisional officer for Usdaw.
Mr Brewer said the union was concerned about the safety of the assistants, often students, working alone late at night in local convenience stores.
"They are a soft target for shoplifters and there is a potential for violence," he said.
"Our members have experience of till grabs where people under the influence of drink or drugs make a grab for the till.
"Their instinct is to shut the till and they are then threatened with anything from syringes to knives and screwdrivers."
Mr Brewer, who covers the Huddersfield area, said that CCTV and "drop safes" - where cash is dropped out of the till into a safe - all helped to reduce the risk to staff.
Banning individuals from shops with an Asbo (Anti-Social Behaviour Order), issued by magistrates, was also proving effective.
"Asbos have been a huge benefit to our members," he said.
More than 48,000 sales staff were assaulted or threatened with assault in the last financial year, the 2002/2003 British Crime Survey showed.
Several convenience stores in Huddersfield have been targeted by raiders.
Paul Noble suffered nerve damage after he was slashed with a knife when men attempted to rob the Post Office and Londis grocery store in Dryclough Road, Crosland Moor, last May.
His daughter Emma, 21, grappled with raiders only weeks later while she was working behind the counter.
Usdaw found that two thirds of British workers, whose job involves contact with the public, have not received any training in how to deal with violent or threatening behaviour.
It has highlighted the need for all staff, including part-time and temporary workers, to receive basic training.
John Hannett, general secretary elect of Usdaw, said: "This Home Office study shows that many thousands of shop workers continue to go to work every day in fear of being attacked.
"Usdaw's own surveys, as well as analysis from the British Retail Consortium, show that crime remains a big problem in the retail sector.
"Usdaw is committed to working with employers, the police, local authorities and other stakeholders to create safer working environments."