I always cringe when I read about the ‘hoodie’ threat for two reasons. I know how scary it can look, but I also have a son who owns about 20 of them (mostly fashionably ripped, of course) to go with his tattoos, dyed hair and body piercings. But he also has just graduated with an honours degree in fine arts and is no threat to anyone.

But when someone wearing a hoodie, helmet or balaclava does come through the door in anger, it can be terrifying.

Andy Dike emailed me with a dire tale of an armed robbery at his store in the small north Dorset town of Stalbridge. “As a result,” he writes, “the team here have lost much confidence, particularly in the evening, and we are therefore re-addressing security issues.”

This has included printing some temporary signage asking customers to remove headgear but he worried that it might not look professional enough and may put off old ladies in bonnets and gentlemen in proper hats, bless him. A few things to note here. You are at liberty to refuse entry to anyone.

You don’t have to have professional signs although, as Andy observes, a company specialising in signage could produce something with more impact than a DIY job. If you or your staff have been victimised you should ring Victim Support on 0845 3030 900. Another suggestion is to liaise with your local crime reduction/prevention officer who should be able to advise how to prevent or deal with repeat offences. They should also be able to advise on the wording and size of signs and who locally can produce them. If anyone has any more helpful suggestions for Andy, please get in touch.

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