The police and government need to overcome an “unwillingness” to accept the extent of intimidation and violence faced by retailers, an MP has warned after a store owner was attacked in the same shop her husband was stabbed to death in.

Nirupa Patel suffered horrific injuries, including a gash to her head and cheek which required around 49 stitches following the assault in the early hours of Christmas Eve. The incident at Moon’s Newsagent comes only six years after her husband was murdered during a robbery.

“I’m used to people shouting at me and throwing abuse at me,” she said. “But I never ever thought something like this would happen to me. I never ever thought it would happen again.”

Despite the harrowing ordeal, the 57-year-old is urging retailers not to give up. “I had the courage to come back after the first time and if I could I would go back now. But my kids have taken the keys off me and won’t give them back. I have backed down because I saw the tears in their eyes.

“The police and government need to do more to protect retailers.”

Her calls have been echoed by MP Guto Bebb, who is pushing for the issue to be raised in parliament, and Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Olly Martins, who have vowed to keep pressuring the police and government to provide better protection. They are urging retailers “not to lose confidence in the police” and ensure they report all crimes.

“There’s nothing more serious than someone being assaulted,” said Mr Bebb, who is chair of the retail crime all-party parliamentary group. “The aim is to bring retail crime up the political agenda and make sure the government, where necessary, is able to act and police and crime commissioners, who in general are guilty of linking retail crime with low-level crime, understand the level of threat and violence that retailers face on a far too regular basis.”

A man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

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