Retailers have been urged to remain vigilant after a rise in staff theft over the last year.

The Association of Convenience Stores’ Crime Survey, which covers 3,465 outlets, has revealed that the number of incidents of staff theft increased by 88% in 2012.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The significant spike in staff theft is particularly shocking. The reality of theft from criminals who seek out and then exploit a position of trust is particularly hard for retailers to stomach.

“We urge police and the criminal justice system to provide the necessary support to retailers in gathering the evidence and pursuing prosecutions where these crimes take place.”

Other findings from the survey include:

• The number of till snatches increased by 28%

• The number of robberies declined by 23%

• The number of burglaries declined by 16%

• Incidences of violence against retailers or staff declined by 10%

Lowman added: “These results demonstrate that local shops have been successful in implementing measures to mitigate and even prevent the impact of planned crimes like robberies and burglaries. Although there is a worrying increase in opportunist crimes such as till snatches, we urge retailers to stay vigilant and implement common sense policies like keeping cash levels low.”

In January, the Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey showed that the retail sector experienced an average of 37 incidents across all crime types, compared with an average of 29 incidents across all the four industry sectors covered.