The retail and wholesale sector experienced more crime last year than any other, a Home Office report has revealed.

Collecting data from six UK business sectors, the 2013 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) found that 81% (5.9 million) of crimes recorded were against the retail and wholesale sector. Of those 5.9 million incidents of crime, 55% were theft by customers. Repeat victimisation was also highest in the retail and wholesale sector.

Although the number of incidents against retail and wholesale businesses recorded in the 2013 CVS was down from 2012’s 7.7 million, the Home Office did not confirm that there has been an actual drop in crime levels against the sector.

The survey also revealed that just 42% of thefts by customers were reported to the police during the period, with burglary and attempted burglary reported more often due to insurance purposes.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “The findings of the survey highlight the scale of the issue of shop theft to retail and wholesale businesses.”

The ACS 2014 Crime Report revealed that shop theft was costing convenience stores £44m annually.