Three Iceland staff are HIV positive after being attacked by shoplifters with hypodermic needles, the chain's boss has told MailOnline.
Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, is the latest retail leader to speak out about the increase in violent attacks on staff working at high street stores.
'Every single week I receive an average of 12 reports of ''serious incidents'' where managers and other colleagues have been attacked in our stores, almost always by shoplifters,' he told MailOnline.
'Colleagues are being slapped, punched and threatened with a range of weapons including knives, hammers, firearms and hypodermic needles.
'Three of our store colleagues are now HIV positive as a result of needle attacks several years ago. Other assaults have resulted in injuries ranging from a broken jaw to a fractured skull.'
The idea of victims being infected with HIV after being attacked with infected needles has long been a dark urban myth, but Mr Walker's comments show this has now become a reality.