If you work in the retail industry, it's very likely you will have been a victim of crime and will be again in the future.
My wife and I certainly experienced our share of crime committed against us and our business. The worst was in 2009 when were confronted by three men who were intent on stealing our tobacco stock. Some retailers have suffered much worse than me of course.
At the beginning of last year I started to tweet all the articles I came across reporting crimes with the hashtag #retailcrime. As you would expect there have been hundreds of them.
Reaching out to my MP
Since the Election, I have added the Twitter account of my MP Michelle Donelan on my tweets reporting crimes affecting independent retailers.
Here is my letter to her explaining why I feel it necessary to bring the subject of retail crime to her attention. I will be following this up with a visit to one of her constituency surgeries soon.
Congratulations on being elected to represent the good people of the Chippenham constituency. From the evidence of the meetings and responses to letters that I shared with Duncan Hames I can say that he was a very good constituency MP. So much is, no doubt expected of you.
Have you ever been a victim of crime? I was throughout my 40 plus year career in retail. The crimes stretched from shoplifting to physical assault. The worst experience of crime that my wife and I suffered was when we confronted three men in our store who were stealing our tobacco stock.
We did not suffer as badly as other retailers, Choudhry Zishan, a newsagent in Southampton was murdered in 2014. While events like this are rare no one working in the retail industry should face this sort of risk just because of the job they do.
You may have noticed that I use Twitter with #retailcrime to highlight the media reports that I find on the subject. Since the election I have been adding @michelledonelan along with the Twitter address of the constituency MP when I highlight a crime that has affected independent retailers.
As you said in your election leaflets, one of your priorities is the success of town centres across your constituency, I hope that you will include the combatting of retail crime with in this task.
Always report crime
If you are a victim of retail crime, always report it to the police. Unreported crimes do not get into the statistics, which means the Government works on inaccurate evidence. Once you have reported it to the police, tell your MP about it as well, they need to know about the challenges you face when running your business.
If you hear of a crime that’s has affected a retail business please tweet it using #retailcrime. Read the many tweets sharing crime stories below.