Shopworker punched with knuckleduster after asking customer to wear a face mask

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The 49-year-old was dragged over the counter and punched in the head and face with what he thought was a knuckle-duster, while working at the convenience store last year

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Shocking moment a Gateshead shopkeeper is attacked

A shopworker has admitted he is scared about the reintroduction of mask rules following a brutal attack in his convenience store last year.

Ian Robson, 49, was dragged over the counter and punched in the head and face with a knuckle-duster, while working at the Gateshead shop.

Minutes earlier he had politely reminded a customer that they needed to wear a face-covering.

The attack came just weeks after the Government made the wearing of face masks in public indoor places mandatory, in August 2020, as the first national coronavirus lockdown was lifted.

The 49-year-old was dragged over the counter and punched in the head

Mask rules were briefly relaxed this summer as restrictions were once again lifted.

But on Tuesday it was once again made law to wear a face-covering in shops and on public transport.

And today Ian has spoken of his fears about once again having to try and enforce the rules while working, Chronicle Live reported.

Minutes earlier he had politely reminded a customer that they needed to wear a face-covering

“I’m back at work today and I’m not really looking forward to it. I think it will be a lot harder this time round. It does worry me,” he said.

“I think people working in shops need more support. We don’t get any training or anything on this.”

Ian was working at the Nisa shop on Coatsworth Road in Bensham, Gateshead, when the incident happened, on the afternoon of Sunday, September 13 2020.

When four customers entered the shop without wearing face-coverings he approached them and reminded them of the rules.

But one of the men took exception to Ian’s request and refused to put a mask on.

Ian, from Washington, told the man that it was the law and he would not be able to come into the store again if he refused to wear a face-covering, then the men left.

The attack came just weeks after the Government made the wearing of face masks in public indoor places mandatory

But about 10 minutes later, while Ian was serving an elderly lady at the till, a man burst into the shop and launched a terrifying attack.

With his face hidden behind a patterned scarf, and brandishing a silver knuckle-duster, the thug pulled Ian over the counter by his shirt and punched him twice.

Ian believes his attacker was wearing a knuckle-duster and he suffered a black eye and cuts and bruises.

But he returned to work soon after and continued to do his best to uphold mask rules, for the safety of his colleagues and customers.

And Ian is now preparing to face the additional responsibility once again.

Mask rules were briefly relaxed this summer as restrictions were once again lifted

“First time round most people were wearing mask, but when it went on for months and months people got sick,” he said.

“It’s a lot of responsibility for someone working in a shop, and it’s not our responsibility to try and enforce it. We are not the police.

“The Government bring in these laws, but we don’t get any support.”

The attack was caught on CCTV but no one was arrested.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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