The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and Crimestoppers have joined forces to create a scheme to offer the public cash rewards for information on crimes against retailers.

The fund, endorsed by the Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire and underwritten by ACS members, will allow rewards of up to £50,000 to be made available for information that leads to a conviction.

The rewards will be reserved for the most serious cases such as violent assault and murder, but it is hoped that they will raise community awareness about the dangers faced by retailers and their staff, as well as encouraging the public to report information on shop crime more often.

Speaking at the launch of the fund, Brokenshire said: "Violence against shopkeepers is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Retail staff deserve to work in a safe and secure environment. We recognise the cost and disruption that crime causes businesses and the communities they serve, and we know that retailers are already doing their bit to help reduce crime and should be supported."

ACS chief executive James Lowman said that he hoped the scheme would encourage the public to help prevent retail crime. "Attacks that lead to loss of life are rare, but are very real," he said. "We make this commitment with the hope that it never has to be used. We want the public to stand up and help punish those who are behind serious assaults and loss of life."