Disabled worker assaulted, £2,000 damage to door and £400 goods stolen: Preston's Geek Retreat demands police action

Staff at Preston’s Geek Retreat are demanding more police support after a crime spree in the city centre.
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The shop, in Friargate, has stock covering everything from gaming and superhero movies to anime and sci-fi.

It also offers a meeting place for people to play a variety of games for free, and to eat and drink, with their very own café selling milkshakes and burgers.

>>>Have a look inside Geek Retreat here

Damage to the top of the glass door, meaning it will have to be replaced at a cost of £2,000.Damage to the top of the glass door, meaning it will have to be replaced at a cost of £2,000.
Damage to the top of the glass door, meaning it will have to be replaced at a cost of £2,000.
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Despite the warm reception from customers, staff say they have been “shocked and appalled” by the number of police incidents in the area, affecting their shop and neighbouring retailers and hospitality venues.

What’s going on?

During these incidents, staff have been assaulted and intimidated, property has been vandalised and stock has been stolen.

In an incident last week, a group of youngsters entered the store and stole £400 of stock then returned again in the evening to assault a member of staff who is a wheelchair user, intimidated staff and stole the keys which were later recovered.

Geek Retreat PrestonGeek Retreat Preston
Geek Retreat Preston

Yesterday, the store’s door was also smashed, causing over £2,000 worth of damage.

“Coffee with a copper”

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Spokesman Stu Haycock said: “We are working with the police and have arranged a ‘coffee with a copper’ meeting at our store on November 10, but given the severity and the frequency of these incidents, we are appealing for greater support for local businesses, high street staff and local communities who wish to enjoy our city centre without threat of intimidation and violence.

"Greater focus on patrolling anti-social behaviour in crime hotspots in the town will bring much needed focus on restoring community safety.”

General manager Matt Laing added: “The safety of our staff and customers is our upmost importance and we are working hard to install further preventative measures to keep them protected.

"The heart of our business is providing safe and inclusive spaces for our customers to feel like they belong - we will continue to work hard to provide this lifeblood service for our loyal communities.”

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The first Geek Retreat was opened in 2013 in Glasgow, and now there are shops across the country, including in neighbouring towns and cities such as Blackburn and Lancaster.

Lancashire Police have been approached for comment.