The Great Trainer Robbery: Organised gangs terrorising JD Sports and Sports Direct staff with makeshift weapons including ACID as they steal designer shoes and active wear from stores – with 191 attacks reported since 2019
- Employees have also been threatened with a screwdriver, water guns and baton
- In one incident, a member of staff was sprayed with liquid offender said was acid
- Freedom of Information request has revealed 191 assaults from 2019 to 2021
- Includes shocking footage of dozens of hooded youths raiding Tottenham store
Organised gangs are terrorising JD Sports and Sports Direct staff with makeshift weapons including acid as they steal designer shoes and active wear from stores – with 191 attacks reported to police since 2019.
Thieves have threatened and assaulted employees with makeshift weapons including a screwdriver, batons and water guns before making off with high-value products.
In one incident, a member of staff was sprayed with a substance that an offender warned was acid.
A Freedom of Information request across 44 police forces in England and Wales has revealed that 191 assaults of shop workers were recorded across the two sports retailers from 2019 and 2021.
It includes shocking footage of one such incident that showed dozens of hooded youths raiding a JD Sports store and sprinting off with armfuls of stolen clothes in Tottenham, north London.
Shocking footage showed dozens of hooded youths raiding a JD Sports store and sprinting off with armfuls of stolen clothes in Tottenham, north London in November 2019
Customers walk through the entrance to a Sports Direct store in Middlesbrough in September 2019
The flagship JD Sports store in Oxford Street, central London, The sportswear giant has been targeted by organised gangs
The footage, posted on Snapchat in November 2019 by someone who witnessed the crime, showed the youngsters barrelling into the London shop.
They appeared to come from all angles and piled into the shop in quick succession.
Within seconds dozens of them started to dart around the shop before grabbing items from the shelves and scurrying out the main entrance.
They were then seen scurrying out of the front door in a frenzy, desperately clutching their stolen items.
In another incident, Avon and Somerset Police said a thief shoved an employee after he was caught trying to wrap Adidas products in tinfoil to avoid detection from the store’s alarms, reports 101greatgoals.
Staff were alerted after hearing metallic rustling sounds emanating from the fitting rooms.
Bedfordshire Police also recorded a case of tinfoil being used, with a crime report detailing how six children dressed all in black loaded up a metal-lined bag with £945 of JD Sports gear before fleeing the store.
The group ‘barged out the shop’, elbowing a female employee in the chest and ‘slapping and swinging’ at her face, a subsequent police report said.
But most frightening was a member of staff being squirted with a liquid the offender said was ‘acid’, before being punched in the face.
Members of staff at a JD Sports in Cleveland were also threatened with a screwdriver when they began chasing two men who left without paying after placing a number of products under their arms and leaving the store.
In another incident, Cheshire Police said a car parked outside a sports shop acted as a getaway driver for a thief who snatched £300 worth of products before ‘swinging at’ an employee who attempted to prevent him from leaving.
In South Yorkshire, another Sports Direct employee was struck in the head with a water pistol, leaving them with a laceration, after they asked a rowdy customer to leave the store.
A spokesperson for JD Sports said: ‘The safety and security of our staff and customers is our highest priority as a business.
‘All of our stores are covered by CCTV which is monitored centrally and we give our staff extensive training on how to handle difficult situations.’
Sports Direct were approached for a comment but did not respond.