The scale of the shoplifting threat faced by retailers in England and Wales was revealed in the latest official statistics.

An 8% increase in the number of shoplifting offences last year means nearly one in five reported thefts is a shoplifting incident. Between January and Decemeber 2017 there were 385,265 reports of shoplifting.

Despite the rise, experimental data, also from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) weights shoplifting as one of the least serious of all theft incidents – ranked 27th out of 31 types of theft.

The experimental weightings are based on how many offenders receive custodial, community or financial punishments, and the size of these punishments.

ACS CEO James Lowman said: “Shop thefts don’t just cost retailers financially, they are now the biggest single trigger for violence and verbal abuse against retailers and their staff.”

The threat of violent crime due to theft reaches across the UK. Scottish retailer Faisal Naseem from Party Time Arbroath said he had lost his faith in the police and judicial system.

“I got thrown into a window, and I ended up with cracked ribs. Even though I had 16 cameras and four witnesses nothing happened. He was arrested for it, he even came back in the shop and breached his bail terms and got arrested again,” he said.

“He failed to turn up in court several times and still nothing. You end up thinking, why am I bothering to call the police?” 

The ACS’ 2018 Crime Report showed the average convenience store loses £1,739 through shop theft.

Read more: Ex police chief says budget cuts gave criminals “green light to thieve”

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