"When I was heavily pregnant a woman was shouting horrid abuse and threatening to kick my baby out of me," recounts a shopworker in south Wales.

This is just one of a troubling number of incidents following on from a recent survey by Usdaw, the retail trade union, which has reported violence against shopworkers more than doubled over the last year.

The annual survey of more than 5,500 retail staff has found that 18 per cent experienced violence in 2023, up from just 8 per cent in 2022.

The surge in attacks has occurred alongside a rise in retail crime and a rise in verbal abuse, with 70 per cent of shopworkers having experienced it in 2023.

Usdaw general secretary, Paddy Lillis said: "Our latest survey results clearly show the scale of the appalling violence, threats and abuse faced by retail staff."

He added that retail workers "provide an essential service and deserve our respect and the protection of the law."

The union urges the government to legislate stronger protections for retail workers, similar to existing laws in Scotland.