The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for tougher sentencing guidelines for attacks on retailers.

In its response to the Sentencing Council's consultation on guidelines for assault, the ACS urged that retailers be deemed as "providing a service to the public" and that attacks on shopworkers be given tougher sentences. Currently, this definition is limited to those working in the public sector such as police and ambulance drivers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "Retailers and their staff have the right to feel protected by the Criminal Justice System. We want to ensure that the sentencing guidelines for assaults against shopworkers deliver a greater penalty."

The ACS also raised the fact that a 'single blow' against a shopworker can result in a lesser sentence for an offender. "It is especially disturbing that a 'single blow' against a retailer constitutes a lower culpability factor and we urge the Sentencing Council to reconsider this point," he added.

The Sentencing Council hopes to publish the consultation's findings and definitive guidelines later this year.