NEEDLE ATTACKS Three Iceland staff members attacked by shoplifters with hypodermic needles – leaving them HIV positive

THREE Iceland staff have tested HIV positive after attacks by shoplifters with hypodermic needles.

Supermarket boss Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, blamed police inaction for an "epidemic" in shoplifting.

Supermarket boss Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, blamed police inaction for an 'epidemic' in shoplifting

A brave shopkeeper in Leeds tackled a shoplifter appearing to carry a firearm

Mr Walker told MailOnline colleagues were stabbed with needles which led to the shock diagnoses.

He added: "Colleagues are being slapped, punched and threatened with a range of weapons including knives, hammers, firearms and hypodermic needles."

Staff members were left with injuries as serious as a broken jaw and fractured skulls after the attacks.

He added that the chain is losing £20million a year to shoplifters.

It comes after under siege shopkeepers have begged MPs and police to take action.

Saj Bhogal was forced to take on an armed assailant after he tried to rob his Leeds corner shop.

The dad-of-three, 55, told The Sun: "I chase after any shoplifters if I see them, I wear trainers to get my stuff back.

“They’re not just robbing me but taking money from my kids.”

Startling crime figures have revealed an anarchic crime wave that's been blighting the nation’s high streets.

Police recorded 339,206 shoplifting incidents in the 12 months to March, yet the British Retail Consortium estimates the total number of retail thefts to be close to eight million.

Just 48,218 shoplifting cases recorded by the police, 14 per cent, resulted in a charge.

And 183,450 investigations — 54 per cent — were closed without a suspect being identified.

The BRC say retail theft rose by 26 per cent in England and Wales last year.

And cases of shoplifting at Co-op stores have risen by 41 per cent in the first eight months of the year compared to the last, according to MailOnline.

Paul Gerrard, the chain's campaigns and public affairs director, revealed its seeing 1,000 incidents of shoplifting a day across 2,500 stores.

Current laws only allow security officers to search suspects with consent.

And staff can't post images of known shoplifters due to data protection laws.

Bosses are calling for a change.

Mr Walker said cops "ignore 70 per cent" of calls for help with thefts in stores.

Last month, Waitrose revealed it was offered free tea and coffees to cops to encourage their presence around stores.

And Primark has brought in bodycams for staff as protection.

Sun Online has contacted the Home Office and Iceland for comment.

Mr Walker said colleagues were stabbed with needles which led to the shock diagnoses (file image)

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