Shop staff are facing unacceptable levels of verbal abuse and threats of violence when asking for proof of age, according to the Scottish Grocers' Federation (SGF) 2007 Retail Crime Survey.
Sales refusals and ID requests were among the main causes of in-store conflicts, Scottish retailers questioned in the annual survey said. A total of 553 stores surveyed reported 1,269 incidents of verbal abuse and 151 incidents of physical violence against staff. In addition, a quarter of retailers reported racial abuse.
SGF chief executive John Drummond said: "The results of the survey, which has been carried out annually for the past four years, continue to draw attention to the violence and intimidation staff are often confronted with when selling age-restricted products."
Retailers suffered at the hands of shoplifters on 31,225 occasions and a total of 13 robberies were reported with a loss of £16,739-worth of stock. There were also 63 reported burglaries, resulting in £40,677 in lost stock and £31,881 spent on repairs.
"What is also clearly evident is the cost to business of crime from fraud, theft and burglaries," Drummond added. "These criminals, who are costing retail businesses millions, must be stopped and the law enforced, or ultimately the cost will have to be passed on to the customer.
"The Scottish government must provide police with greater resources to tackle retail crime and support a recognised proof-of-age card backed by a national awareness campaign."