[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 02:53 GMT
Shoplifters cost retailers 205m
Shopping generic
Shoplifters steal on average 156 worth of goods at a time
The value of goods stolen from shops has hit a 10-year high, a survey of High Street retailers has said.

A British Retail Consortium report said goods worth 205m were taken last year in cases where the shoplifter was prosecuted, up 8% on the previous year.

However, the consortium estimates that the actual losses from all shoplifting may be three to four times higher.

It also says not all shop crimes are committed by harmless petty criminals, as many are driven by drug addiction.

The survey's findings are expected to raise concerns about the Sentencing Advisory Panel's proposals to end custodial sentences for shoplifting altogether.

The government and law enforcers must stop believing retail crime is victimless and committed by harmless petty criminals
Kevin Hawkins, British Retail Consortium

Earlier this year, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the introduction of fixed penalties for those caught stealing goods had led to a big increase in shoplifting.

In 2004, police were given the power to issue 80 fines instead of an arrest for first time offences and thefts of goods worth less than 200.

The survey also found shoplifters stole on average 156 worth of goods at a time - an increase of 7 on the previous year.

Across stores of all types, the number of detected shoplifting incidents rose by nearly 3% to almost 40 per store per year.

Cases of violence against staff also rose last year but are below the levels of two or three years ago.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "Last year, shop staff were subjected to around half a million incidents of abuse or violence in their work places and retailers clocked up even greater losses to theft.

"It's clear the current approach is not working. The government and law enforcers must stop believing retail crime is victimless and committed by harmless petty criminals.

"Most shop thieves are driven by drug addiction."

Previously, the Ministry of Justice has insisted it does take shoplifting seriously and stressed shoplifters can be punished by up to seven years in jail.

SEE ALSO
Shoplifting 'too easy' says study
10 Apr 07 |  Leicestershire
Shoplifters fined on the street
26 Apr 06 |  Berkshire

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific