Independent retailers must organise meetings with local MPs to discuss the prevention of retail crime, NFRN president Mike Mitchelson has said.

Speaking to retailers at the NFRN conference in Torquay last week, Mr Mitchelson said he wanted every one of the UK's 650 MPs to receive a visit from an NFRN member in the next 12 months.

"We must step up our efforts in lobbying politicians, police chiefs and police commissioners for better response times, more frontline officers and sentences that really fit the crime," he said.

Mr Mitchelson said the newly-formed all-party parliamentary group on retail crime chaired by Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond was a “good step forward” but said awareness of lower-level crimes must also be raised.

Mr Hammond agreed it was worrying that retail crime has been "downplayed,".

"Not only does it threaten retailers financially, but also their personal security," he said.