A RETAIL worker feels ‘disgusted’ after a woman spat at her whilst working in a store in Basingstoke.

Jennifer Brightman, who works at Cool! in Festival Place, said the lady who assaulted her had placed £84 worth of store items in her shopping trolley and attempted to leave the store without paying.

The 37-year-old, who has worked for Cool! for five years, told the Gazette: “I saw a lady on the CCTV put something in her shopping trolley. At that point I went and stood beside the lady and watched her pick up two more things and put them in her trolley and then she began to walk out the shop.

“I caught up with her and said excuse me can you come back into the shop and immediately she went crazy at me. She came back in and threw everything on the floor.

“In the process of explaining she wasn’t welcome in any of our shops ever again she pulled down her mask and spat in my face.”

Jenifer was shocked by what had happened and it took a few moments to realise that there was spit on her.

“I looked down at myself and I could see spit all over my chest and my arm. I had to clean the floor because there was split all over the floor.”

Despite CCTV capturing the incident on film, police did not charge the woman.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: “We were called at 12.42pm on Saturday 8 May to reports of a shoplifting and an assault at the Cool store on Festival Place, Basingstoke.

“The store manager reported being spat at by the suspect. A 38-year-old woman from Bordon was arrested on suspicion of theft and common assault. She has been given a conditional caution. The stolen items were recovered.”

Jenifer has conducted lateral flow tests every day since the incident and feels as though the police are failing to take attacks on retail staff seriously.

“I can’t believe it happened I mean you hear about it but you never think it will be you.

“It makes me feel like attacks on retail staff just aren’t taken seriously. Somebody spat on me in the course of my normal job just serving customers. I don’t even know if the lady has been banned from festival place.”

Whilst Jenifer has praised the security team for their assistance, she and store owner Colin Mundy, are concerned about the lack of contact from Festival Place.

Jenifer added “What if she goes out and does this to someone that’s vulnerable or who lives with someone vulnerable?

“How do I know that she can’t just come in here again?”

Colin Mundy said: “We are disgusted not only at the offence but just as much at the outcome of this matter.  We haven’t even been assured by the Shopping Centre management that the offender will be banned from Festival Place.
“No one has come in to say this lady won’t ever be allowed in again or that she’s banned from Festival Place for a certain amount of time. And as far as I can see she can come in next week and go and do it in another shop.

“It’s bad enough that people think they can come in and take stuff without paying but to do this, words fail me. It is the lowest of the low. I think I’d rather be punched than spat, at especially during a pandemic.”

The Gazette has contacted Festival Place for comment.