People found guilty of assaulting responsible retailers for enforcing the alcohol licensing laws could face unlimited fines or a jail sentence of up to two years.

Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock has tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which introduces a specific offence of assaulting any shop worker selling alcohol.

The Bill will reach the Committee Stage of the parliamentary process next week (14 July).

Shopworkers trade union USDAW welcomed the amendment.

General secretary John Hannett said: “There is a real need to address the scourge of violence against workers and I am concerned that the attackers are getting away with relatively lenient sentences.

“Parliament expects shop and bar workers to enforce and police the laws they pass, so it is only right they also provide the additional protection needed to help keep those workers safe.”