Retailers have been warned to be vigilant against staff theft following a rise in the number of reported incidents over the past 12 months.

According to the latest Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) crime survey, which compiled submissions from 3,465 outlets, reported incidents of staff theft increased by 88% in 2012.

ACS chief executive James Lowman urged retailers to be wary of staff theft. “The significant spike in staff theft is particularly shocking,” he said. “The reality of theft from criminals who seek out and then abuse 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.”

The survey also revealed that till snatches increased by 28% in 2012 but that robberies and burglaries declined by 23% and 16% respectively. Incidents of violence towards retailers and staff also declined by 10% compared to the previous year.

Lowman praised retailers for their efforts in reducing robberies and burglaries. “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,” he said. “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.”