Custodial sentences will continue to be a possible punishment for serial shoplifters, according to new guidelines published by the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP).

It had been had feared that imprisonment would be scrapped as a sanction for shop theft under the panel's review, which also increased the sentencing starting point for breaching an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) for adults.

The Association of Convenience Stores said it welcomed SAP's decision to retain the option of custody for shop theft. Chief executive James Lowman said: "It is important that magistrates have a range of sanctions to punish and deter repeat offenders.

"We are also glad that SAP followed our recommendation regarding sentencing for breach of ASBOs."