The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for a tougher stance on shop theft from police and the justice system after figures released by the British Retail Consortium revealed that the cost of shop theft across the retail sector has increased.

Recently published government data also reflects this trend, reporting that overall, there has been a 5% increase in shop theft offences in England and Wales.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The BRC figures highlight the battle that retailers face in attempting to prevent shop theft in their stores. Despite significant investment in crime prevention measures across the retail sector, shop theft continues to damage the livelihoods of hard working entrepreneurs.

“The current system of out of court disposals is not working, especially for repeat offenders who are not getting the help they need to break the cycle of offending. It is essential that Government and local police forces take shop theft more seriously, and develop effective punishments for this crime.”