A SUPERMARKET in Horwich has faced a “massive” increase in shoplifting over lockdown as people are “bored”.

A representative of the Co-op supermarket, in Winter Hey Lane, Horwich, was involved in a virtual round table discussion with other business leaders and Labour politicians as part of their ‘shop local’ campaign, where they outlined the problems they have been facing.

Many businesses outlined problems and confusion around enforcing government rules on social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, as many were concerned with causing friction between themselves and customers.

However, the Co-op in Horwich has been facing further problems of anti-social behaviour and crime over lockdown.

A representative of the store, present at the meeting, said: “We have seen a massive increase in people trying to shoplift at the moment.

“We think it’s because people are bored basically as there has been a massive increase over lockdown.

“We tell the police exactly who is doing it as well, we know exactly who they are, but we’re not getting a lot of help.”

The representative also described how there had been a sharp increase in the amount of times shopworkers had been verbally abused by members of the public during lockdown.

He said: “People know they have been told to wear face masks and most people do but we were given no idea about how it was going to be enforced.

“We hired temps to cover us so staffing hasn’t been a great challenge for us but there has an increase in abuse towards our staff members.

“It’s not something people want to have to deal with when they are just trying to do their job.”

However, the increase in shoplifting over the lockdown has been a particular concern for the shop.

They said: “We know exactly who is doing it and have CCTV everywhere that can be used by police.

“Each incident is reported to the police but nothing ever comes of it. They’ve just told us we need to get a security guard.”

Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Labour group leader, who was co-hosting the event as part of its ‘shop local’ campaign, said: “This seems to be the experience of a lot of people, it does seem to have got a lot worse.

“A lot of people don’t understand what the restrictions are and what they can and can’t do .

“I will definitely raise these problems with the council.”

This announcement comes only months after a man was jailed for over four years for brandishing a knife and robbing the store in March.

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for a comment.