Apprentice star calls for tougher sentencing after being attacked by shoplifter at Doncaster store

Frances Bishop
Frances Bishop
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A Doncaster shop owner who starred in The Apprentice has called for tougher sentencing after being attacked while confronting a shoplifter.

Frances Bishop, who appeared in the 2016 series of the hit BBC show, runs children's clothing store Pud in the town centre.

She told how she was working at the store in Waterdale Shopping Centre this afternoon at about 4pm when she approached a man she had seen furtively placing two outfits into a large bag.

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As she did so, she said, he grabbed the bag, turned round and struck her in the face before running off.

Fortunately, she explained, his fist only brushed her face and she was left with nothing worse than a few scratches to her arm following the encounter, which was caught on CCTV.

But Ms Bishop, who has another branch in Newark, claims shoplifting is a growing problem for retailers nationwide and believes courts are too lenient when dealing with the culprits.

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"Shoplifting is sadly part and parcel of retail wherever you are," she said.

"Police do everything they can but when the thieves end up in court they just a slap on the wrist and they're back out doing it again.

"They keep doing it because they know nothing's going to happen to them. There need to be harsher penalties or nothing's going to change."

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Ms Bishop added that she and her staff are dealing with shoplifters 'all the time' and one of her workers had even jumped on a thieve's back in an attempt to stop him making off.

However, she was keen to point out that shoplifting in Doncaster is no worse than in most other major shopping centres.

She said the negative picture painted on social media of the town centre was far from the truth, and urged more people to check out its 'fantastic' array of independent stores

Ms Bishop made it to the final five on The Apprentice before falling at the interviews stage.

She announced last month that Barclays was funding Pud's expansion, enabling it to open more stores this year.