Police have warned the young yobs who terrorised staff and customers at a supermarket that they can expect a knock at the door.

Officers were called to Asda Supermarket in Astley Bridge last night after a 999 call reporting a number of youths being aggressive to staff and customers.

A spokesman for GMP Bolton North Neighbourhood Team said: "The youths made off from officers when they arrived, however, we have managed to identify those involved.

"Each of them will be visited and issued with warning letters, as well as being sign posted to Targeted Youth Support for intervention.

"With the darker nights, anti-social behaviour often spikes, causing concern and distress for local communities and acts as a drain on emergency services resources. We will continue to be proactive in tackling anti-social behaviour in your area."

Shop workers are experiencing hundreds of incidents of abuse every day, new research has shown, as staff at chains including Tesco, H&M and John Lewis have spoken out.

Two in five workers are shouted at, spat on, threatened with violence or hit every week, according to the Retail Trust’s survey of more than 1,600 staff from 200 companies.

The charity, which runs a wellbeing helpline and offers counselling for retail workers, said it wants all incidents to be reported and is calling on customers to better respect Britain’s staff ahead of the busy Christmas period.

The research comes as a group of more than 55 leading businesses, including Sainsbury’s and Boots, have signed an open letter to policing minister Chris Philp calling for more police action over high levels of abuse.

The vast majority of retail workers have faced some abuse at work, ranging from being shouted at to being physically assaulted, the Retail Trust found.

But around a quarter admitted that they do not report assaults at work.

One 34-year-old customer adviser from Essex, who wished to stay anonymous, said they were once punched in the face by a customer, and spoke about facing “daily” in-store abuse.

“Unfortunately, customers have learnt that if they yell, scream or get abusive, they often get exactly what they want,” they told the charity.

“If we employed a zero-aggression policy it might help, but police need to take assaults seriously.”

Moses, a 42-year-old department store manager from Essex, said he had been physically attacked by shoplifters between 20 and 30 times over the last two decades.

He also suggested that the issue has worsened since the Covid pandemic, which saw the introduction of social distancing measures in shops.

Julie, a 61-year-old store manager from Hampshire, told the charity she was threatened by a man earlier this year who said “I will flob down your throat and then kill you”, after trying to return an item for cash shortly after stealing it.

“I have worked in retail for 23 years and I have never known it so bad,” she said.

Retail groups such as Co-op have recently urged police forces to do more to tackle violence in shops, while John Lewis boss Dame Sharon White flagged a rise in “organised gangs” raiding stores.

Chris Brook Carter, the Retail Trust’s chief executive, said: “Thousands of shop workers are contacting us to say they now fear for their safety, and this is simply unacceptable.

“Every day we’re hearing from people who have been shouted at, spat on, threatened or hit at work, sometimes several times a week, so we’re very concerned.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We need the Government to introduce a standalone offence to send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, and to help police allocate appropriate resources to challenge and deter potential offenders.

“We also call on customers to show colleagues the respect they deserve when doing their jobs. We must all work together to stamp out this scourge of crime.”