26 March 2018 - Janet Bird
Convenience store owners have blamed Government policy for a huge surge in shoplifting offences.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said government legislation which states anyone caught stealing less than £200 worth of goods will now not be pursued by police but dealt with by way of a postal fine had effectively decriminalised shoplifting.
The ACS' 2018 Crime Report showed the number of shoplifting offences committed against convenience retailers had risen to 950,000 compared to 575,000 a year earlier.
This equates to a staggering 200 thefts an hour and is costing the convenience sector £193 million a year, which the ACS said equated to a 7p "crime tax" per transaction.
The ACS said fresh thinking was needed on how to tackle shoplifting as the current deterrents were not effective on addressing the issue.