Figures released as part of the Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey have found that one in five premises in the retail and wholesale sector were victims of shop theft over the last year, with the sector having the highest crime rate of any sector surveyed.

The survey states that wholesale and retail premises experienced 4.7 million crimes in 2015, with almost three quarters of those crimes (72%) being attributed to theft by customers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Shop theft is a damaging crime that takes both an economic and human toll on convenience store retailers and their staff. We urge retailers to continue to report shop theft where it occurs, and for the police and justice system to treat these offences seriously.”

The ACS Crime Survey released in March this year showed that shop theft cost the convenience sector more than £43m in 2015, with only 37% of retailers reporting that they had not experienced any shop theft in their store. Additionally, statistics released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this month showed that shop theft incidents had risen by 2%.