Retailers reacted with fury this week to government claims that crime levels have plateaued.
Unveiling the 2007 British Crime Survey, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "Since 1997 we have seen overall crime fall by a third. Violent crime has also remained stable, showing that our work to tackle gun and knife crime is making a difference."
"To suggest that levels of crime have stabilised is a farce," says Costcutter Wolverton manager Thiru Kamalan, who a month ago witnessed the murder of a local man in his store.
"As well witnessing violent crime, staff in my store are facing constant intimidation by gangs when they refuse to sell them age-restricted products."