SHOP workers have described the shocking abuse, threats and violence they are subjected to as part of an awareness campaign.

With the coronavirus lockdown set to end on Wednesday, non-essential retail and shops can once again reopen to customers.

But some workers have described being threatened at knifepoint, abused, and one even had a flare gun pointed at them.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne wants to highlight shop workers’ experiences in a bid for everyone to respect each other in the run up to Christmas.

In her campaign, she spoke with Blatchington Road, Hove Co-op manager Steve Pelling and his daughter Kayleigh in the public information film.

He said: “I might be a store manager, but I am also a father.

“I still try to be upbeat but it’s hard when you have someone shouting in your face or throwing beer at you.

“Life is incredibly difficult for a lot of people right now and we understand that but please don’t make it harder for us.”

The Argus: Blatchington Road, Hove Co-op manager Steve PellingBlatchington Road, Hove Co-op manager Steve Pelling

In Hastings, Mita Paleja has described the toll taken on her mother Pratibha who manages the shop the family has run for 32 years while at the same time being a carer for Mita’s father who has dementia.

Mita said: “My mum is just trying to do her job. She has been threatened with a knife, verbally abused and pushed.

“She fractured her wrist as a result of that. I’m worried about her safety.

The Argus: Hastings shop owner Pratibha PalejaHastings shop owner Pratibha Paleja

“Please consider to be kind this Christmas, there is a family behind every business.”

Sussex PCC Katy Bourne said: “This pandemic has shown how important our local businesses and their staff are to our communities.

!Intimidation, verbal abuse and violence of any kind against our shopworkers cannot be tolerated.”

Shop workers union Usdaw says an incident of abuse or violence happens every minute in the UK, while a survey in Sussex found more than half of business owners reporting a rise in abuse.

The Co-op says its workforce has also reported a rise in abuse because of the coronavirus lockdown.

In the video Clive Sullivan describes how his wife Sammie Sullivan works as a Co-op store manager in Sussex. She takes it upon herself to do home deliveries for those who are self-isolating.

The Argus: Co-op store manager Sammie Sullivan works in SussexCo-op store manager Sammie Sullivan works in Sussex

He tells of his worry about Sammie when she goes to work, having suffered verbal abuse and recently having had a flare pulled out on her by a frustrated customer.

Sussex Police’s Business Crime Lead Chris Neilson said: “The assault and abuse of shop workers simply doing their job in our communities is a serious concern for us and will not be tolerated.

“We will wherever possible take robust action against anyone targeting and intimidating retail staff.

“Sussex police has invested in officers that are dedicated to investigating business crimes and provided recent training to contact handlers to recognise where violence and abuse has occurred so that we can act effectively and ensure a victim can access appropriate support.”