Retailers in the North East have raised concerns after a 10% rise in shoplifting was reported to Northumbria Police.
The force reported 14,414 instances of shoplifting in 2017-2018 – a 10% increase on the previous year – according to data from data.police.uk.
The rise was revealed by online marketplace OnBuy.com, which investigated the total number of shoplifting offences recorded by 42 police forces across England and Wales in the last financial year.
The rise means that Northumbria Police area ranks as sixth out of 42 police forces across England and Wales for the number of shoplifting offences in the last year.
Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police, said: “We recognise the significance of retail crime and its impact on shop owners and employees.
“Our officers are engaging with retailers through a number of different forums in order to tackle shoplifting.
“We are also asking our partners in this sector to consider a variety of different opportunities and tactics which may help prevent crime in the future.
“We are constantly seeking to improve our process in response to retail crime and are attempting to streamline our overall police response.
“We would always urge anybody who is a victim of retail crime to contact police on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.”
Cleveland Police reported 8,294 incidences of shoplifting in 2017-2018 – a 20% increase from the previous year, ranking 18th out of the 42 forces.
Durham Constabulary ranked 31st out of the 42 forces with 4,430 incidents - a 14% rise - meaning that in the region Cleveland had the highest increase in shoplifting.
The increase is worrying for retailers, with shoplifting accounting for £500million of the £700million direct cost incurred from retail crime in the UK between April 2016 and March 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, said: “With the overall number of shoplifting incidents increasing from the previous year, it’s a crime which is financially burdening retailers.
“It’s unfortunate because many owners spend a lot of time, money and energy ensuring all aspects of their operations are running effectively and efficiently.
“Whilst shoplifting may seem difficult to prevent, there are certain cost-effective precautions retailers can take to deter shoplifters from targeting them.
“Precautions such as training employees to identify the behaviours associated with shoplifters and appropriate signage to warn potential offenders about the seriousness of the matter.”