Drive-off rates have dropped significantly, according to exclusive early results from the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey, due to be published in full on October 11.

The total number of incidents per 100 outlets fell from 1,834 in 2004 to 1,517 in 2005 among those major retailers who responded to the survey.

The overall cost of making-off-without-payment offences fell from £3.84m to £1.53m, with the average cost per incident £24.

A BRC spokesman said that the increasing deployment of ANPR technology was the most likely reason for these positive results.