Shoplifter facing jail after smashing bottle over head of Co-op worker

Shoplifter facing jail after smashing bottle over head of Co-op worker

Charlene Sweet’s hair was soaked in blood after the incident (Picture: BNPS)

A Co-op worker who was left with a gaping head wound after being hit with a bottle by a shoplifter has said his guilty plea gives her ‘closure’.

Charlene Sweet was battered over the head by George Talbott as she confronted him outside the store in Bournemouth, Dorset, last June.

The incident left her with a blood-soaked uniform and a nasty injury which had to be glued up in hospital.

Warning: This article contains a graphic image showing injury detail

Talbott is likely to face jail when he is sentenced next month, after pleading guilty to wounding Charlene with intent and theft.

She said she had recognised the shoplifter on the day of the attack as he is suspected of nicking items from the same store previously.

Charlene said: ‘He stole a bottle of Kopparberg and a WKD bottle.

‘As I proceeded to try and get one out of his grasp, he bottled me to the left side of my head.

‘I grabbed my head and went back inside the store. I started to feel slightly faint and then I fell to my knees.

‘I took my hand off my head and realised I was bleeding. I felt it trickling all down my neck and chest – my work shirt was red with blood.’

Charlene was asked to return to work two days after the attack (Picture: BNPS)

The incident threw a spotlight on the growing impact of shoplifting across the country.

Over the course of 2023, there was a daily average of almost 1,000 shoplifting, abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour incidents across the Co-op’s 2,400 stores.

A report released last week by the supermarket giant revealed the 336,270 offences represented a 44% increase from the previous year.

Last June, it was revealed that one Co-op store in Manor House, north London, was locking products in plastic cases to prevent thefts.

Ferrero Rocher chocolates were among the products locked away at one Co-op (Picture: SWNS)

Charlene said she left the Co-op following the incident and has since joined Tesco, where she feels safer.

She said: ‘I think the Co-op is an incredibly targeted store for shoplifters.

‘I know former colleagues of mine feel unsafe whenever there is a shoplifter and have not felt totally comfortable in some time.

‘I joined Tesco in November and we have body cameras and security staff, so I feel a lot safer and looked after.’

Charlene added: ‘[Talbott] pleading guilty has brought me the closure I needed and it is a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I can move on with my life and recovery.

‘I feel more needs to be done to tackle shoplifters and police should attend incidents as much as possible.

‘At the moment shoplifters don’t have a care in the world because they think they will get away with it.’

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