VIOLENT customers and robbers who attack shopworkers could soon find life a bit harder — because of a new device being tested in shops in Bury and Radcliffe.

A pilot is currently running to test a new staff protection device which aims to reduce crimes such as robbery, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Crime reduction advisor Gaynor Mason, from Bury Police Station, said: “This type of crime can have a devastating effect on staff, especially those who work in small shops.

“Staff caught up in a robbery can be very distressed which leads to ill-health, and sometimes this can lead to the failure of the business.”

Small businesses who have suffered from repeated attacks involving violence or threats to staff are being offered a piece of crime prevention equipment known as a “Starbox”.

Sensor Technologies, based in nearby Heywood, provide the Starbox system, which was created to minimise the risk when staff are faced with confrontational, abusive or violent customers in the workplace.

At the push of a button, staff receive live back-up from the Starbox support team who can help assess the situation and contact the police if necessary.

The first retail outlet to benefit from the equipment is a petrol station in Radcliffe.

Regional security manager Guy Bickerstaffe, from Euro Garages, said: “We are delighted to support Greater Manchester Police in the fight against crime.

“We are very happy with the system and its ability to protect customers and staff from harm, and this is very important to us.

“Being offered this equipment is wonderful, as staff now feel safer and know at the push of a button that help can be summoned.”

l For more information: call Gaynor Mason on 0161 8568046 or email Gaynor.mason@gmp.