Threats of violence in Scotland’s convenience stores have more than trebled over the past year, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation conference will be told this weekend.

The country’s c-store sector is the victim of a 350% rise in threats of violence and total shop theft rose 50% year-on-year, incoming SGF president Hamish Stewart will tell the annual conference’s 450 delegates. The spiralling crime rate came as the number of shoplifters being brought to court dropped by 50%.

The keynote speaker at the conference in St Andrew’s will be the Scottish Executive’s Liberal Democrat chief whip George Lyon.

Stewart’s term of office runs for two years. He succeeds Jim Botterill, of Spar chain Botterills.