Small shops ‘easiest place to shoplift’

Some 700,000 people in Britain shoplift each year

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Small independent retailers are seen as the softest target for shoplifting, new research reveals.

According to the study by G4S Security Services, an annual 700,000 people shoplift from British stores with the value of their ill-gotten gains amounting to £13m.

When it comes to the types of businesses being targeted the research showed smaller independent shops are at the most risk.

A quarter of respondents believed it is easiest to shoplift from independent retailers compared to only 5% who felt high street chain stores offer the least effortless opportunities for criminals.

Douglas Greenwell, from G4S Security Services, said, “Retailers need to review their security procedures, take proactive steps to discourage this activity and make the appropriate investment in security.

“We need to reaffirm to the public that shoplifting is a serious criminal activity and once prosecuted offenders can expect to receive significant fines or jail sentences.”

The report showed the most commonly stolen items are razor blades, with £35 the average value of the most expensive item stolen.

Regionally, the worst offenders were in northern England where 1.9 million confessed to stealing items. Northerners, however, were also the most likely to return an item to a shop after realising they had mistakenly walked out without paying for it.

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