Independent stores in Glasgow stocking The Digger are facing intimidation from gangs seeking to stop access to the investigative crime title on shelves.
Editor James Cruikshank told the Press Gazette he was targeted in an arson attack outside his home on the same night ‘thugs’ visited 30 newsagents that stock the title in the Glasgow area. Police Scotland described the fire that narrowly avoided burning down his house on 1 November as ‘wilful.’
Speaking to RN, Cruikshank explained: “It’s been going on as long as we’ve been going, since 2004 we’ve had reports of people going into shops and pressuring stockists, claiming it’s illegal to sell it or that we can’t write about their family, they are fruit loops the best way to describe these people is nuts.”
The weekly title investigates and exposes alleged drug dealers, paedophiles, gangsters, corruption and the criminal justice system. It sells 6,000 copies per week in the city through around 750 stockists.
Despite the pressure on shops visited from ‘gangsters’ the editor said nearly all were continuing to stock the title. He told RN: “These corner shops are fantastic job, often working close to 24 hours a day and they need to be recognised for what they do and what they put up with from drunken layabouts, having their windows smashed and being racially abused. Our overall message to stockists is thank you for everything you do.”
Asked about action by Police Scotland to protect freedom of the press by preventing the intimidation of news sellers, Cruikshank said: “Police Scotland talk a good job, but their talk is better than their results.”
NFRN Scottish president Ferhan Ashiq responded: “I would like to commend the bravery of all the retailers that are still stocking ‘The Digger’ in spite of this intimidation. This is just another reason that shop keepers are in desperate need for the Protection of Shop Workers bill, spearheaded by Daniel Johnston MSP in the Scottish Parliament, which has just today passed Stage two. Shop workers are at the frontline for not just threats from ‘gangsters’ but also age related products, having to deal with abuse and intimidation only a daily basis.”
Are you a retailer from Glasgow that has faced intimidation? Call betterRetailing anonymously on 020 7689 3371 or email email@example.com