Bharat Dalal sent me a cutting from his local paper in Oxford headed ‘Shopkeepers feel abandoned in their hour of need’. It detailed the casual approach taken by both shoplifters and the police after Bharat reported three incidents in a row at his store, Old Man’s Premier (which, over the years, has endured many similar thefts).

In the latest reports well over £200 just waltzed out the door. “There is no violence, no guns, they just walk in and take it,” he says.

Unfortunately, the police are being quoted all over the place saying that resources are tight and they need to focus on more serious crime. Assuming that some shoplifters can actually read, they will be picking up the message that it’s okay to pinch stuff.

The following weekend I read a report in The Times where police were quoted saying more or less the same thing and that they would only attend and arrest if someone was actually detained in the store. So retailers will have to decide whether to physically stop someone brazenly helping themselves to, say, crates of Stella as they did in Bharat’s case. It certainly isn’t going to be in the staff’s job description.

This is the last issue of 2017 and the above isn’t a happy note to end on. So let me wish you peace and prosperity and please mind your backs.