VIOLENT shop robberies have trebled in the past year, new figures show.
Guns, knives, hammers and syringes are now being routinely used, with 90pc of retailers saying they were victims of crime in the past 12 months.
And fears of Tiger kidnappings have also risen, with 80pc of retailers now concerned about such crimes, compared to just 10pc in 2011.
According to a new study by RGDATA, the representative body for the owners of 4,000 family-owned shops and supermarkets, violence was used in 28pc of raids in 2012, compared to 10pc in 2011.
The statistics were revealed on the same day the Herald reported how two armed raiders who tried to rob a chip shop were chased away by two female staff who threw vinegar bottles and salt shakers at them.
One of the masked men had a knife and the other a metal bar as they tried to climb over the counter of the Genoa take-away in Balbriggan.
"I don't know how they expected me to react, but I shouted at them and started throwing vinegar bottles and salt shakers at them and they ran out the door," owner Erica Loughran said.
Speaking on the latest statistics, Erica said she was not surprised that figures show a rise in violence.
"I think with the recession people are under more pressure and for that reason robberies are up and so too is the violence that goes with it."
Asked if she would act any differently if it happened again, she said: "I think I would do the same thing. Maybe I just react differently to others."
More than half of retailers in the RGDATA survey said that retail crime was a severe threat to their business in 2012.