A petition calling for harsher penalties for crimes against store staff has been set up in the wake of the murder of Huddersfield shop owner Gurmail Singh.

Yorkshire retailers and wholesalers will be collecting signatures and will present them to 10 Downing Street in an effort to convince government to take the issue more seriously.

The petition is being co-ordinated by Balbir Singh Uppal, a Yorkshire businessman who was a friend of Gurmail. "People are genuinely concerned with the level of sentences imposed on those who commit serious crime against shopworkers," he said, "but it's about stopping people committing crime when they are young and getting nurtured into crime."

The petition is being supported by Batleys cash and carry and will be available in all of the group's branches. "Gurmail Singh was a highly respected and long-serving customer of Batleys," said operations director Martin Race. "Both Batleys and all the Bestway branches are totally behind this petition. We want everyone to sign it and then hopefully the government will start to take this heinous crime seriously and issue justifiable sentences."

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman also expressed support for the campaign and called for harsher penalties. "We are campaigning to have assault on shopkeepers brought in line with attacks on paramedics and police officers, because we believe they provide services to the community on the same level," he said.

You can sign the petition at your local Bestway or Batleys branch.

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