Opposition is gathering against the use of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) for repeated shoplifting offences.

Magistrates' Association chairman John Thornhill said that PNDs did not address the issue as offenders could be given one fine after another without any change in behaviour.

"We are concerned about what appears to be a growth in inappropriate use of them for repeat offences," he said.

Conservative MP Anne McIntosh has tabled a Bill to the House of Commons which would limit PNDs to first offences. "From the retailers' point of view - as the victims of the crime - PNDs do not match the value of goods stolen," she said. "More worryingly, 50% of all fixed penalty notice fines go unpaid."

Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Green said: "Those who commit serious offences, including shoplifting, should be properly punished, not let off with a glorified parking ticket."

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "PNDs are intended for only the lowest level examples of shoplifting."