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Convenience retailers winning battle against shop thieves

Convenience stores are fighting back against shop thieves by investing millions in crime prevention measures in their shops.

Over the last three years, the percentage of retailers who have been victims of shop theft has fallen from 91% in 2012 to 74% in 2014. The cost of shop theft in the convenience sector has also dropped significantly over the last year from £44m to £35m a year.

The ACS Crime Survey, released today, reveals that on average, each store has invested over £1700 over the last year in crime prevention measures such as CCTV, product tagging and anti-theft devices.

The survey also shed light on the products that are being targeted by thieves. The most commonly stolen products in convenience stores were typically higher value items such as alcohol, meat and cheese.

The majority of theft against convenience store retailers is not committed by opportunists or first time offenders. 70% of offenders committed premeditated offences, either individually or as part of organised gangs.

Speaking on the release of the survey, ACS has called for retailers to get more help from the police and justice system. Figures released by the Ministry of Justice last year showed that almost half of all ‘on the spot’ fines issued to criminals were left unpaid.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Shop theft is not a victimless crime, and despite the success of investment in crime prevention measures our sector still has to deal with £35m worth of goods being taken from shelves.”

“We know from our survey that a significant proportion of criminals are stealing products from stores to fund other criminal activity. Shop theft is a gateway offence that can lead to much more serious crime, so it’s essential that these people are taken seriously by the justice system.”

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