The number of shop thefts has continued to increase, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Its latest crime statistics for England and Wales, covering the year ending December 2017, report an 8% increase in the number of shop thefts from the previous year, rising to 385,265 incidents.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “The continued rise in shop thefts is consistent with the survey data in our own Crime Report. Shop theft incidents don’t just cost retailers financially, they are now the biggest single trigger for violence and verbal abuse against retailers and their staff. Where violent incidents take place, retailers must report them and the police must respond.”

The ACS 2018 Crime Report suggests that shop theft remains the most costly type of crime that convenience retailers face, costing each store on average £1,739 in the last year. The report also found that shop theft also has a physical and emotional cost for retailers and their staff with the top trigger for violence and verbal abuse this year as challenging shop thieves.