The number of recorded shoplifting incidents in England and Wales has jumped by 8%, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Crime figures for the year ending December 2016 show that there were approximately 358,235 incidents of shop theft last year, which is over 25,000 more incidents than in 2015.

The figures support the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) Crime Survey 2017, which showed shop theft alone cost the convenience sector over £232m between 2016 and 2017, despite millions being spent on investment in crime prevention measures over the same time period.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “On average every local shop loses £2,605 per year or the equivalent to 7p crime tax for consumers on every transaction because of shop theft. The police need to work closely with retailers to prevent shop theft and ensure that shop thieves are dealt with properly.

“Where there are serious penalties available for repeat shop thieves or organised criminals, we want to see these used more effectively so that shop theft is never perceived as a victimless crime or one that can be committed without consequences. The government’s review of out of court disposals is long overdue and this system needs to be reformed.”

According to the ACS report, the most common items stolen from convenience stores are alcohol, meat and confectionery items.