The retail and wholesale sectors have higher crime rates than any other sector, according to figures released today as part of the Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation survey.

The survey found that as many as one in five premises in the retail and wholesale sector were victims of shop theft over the last year, accumulating a total of 4.7 million accounts of theft in 2015, 72% of which were attributed to customers.

It follows the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Survey, released in March, which shows that shop theft alone cost the convenience sector over £43m in 2015, with only 37% of retailers reporting that they had not experienced any shop theft in their store.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said: “Shop theft is a damaging crime that takes both an economic and human toll on convenience store retailers and their staff. We urge retailers to continue to report shop theft where it occurs, and for the police and justice system to treat these offences seriously.”

The ACS Crime Report revealed that the average store is investing £1,370 in crime prevention, and the total cost of crime and crime prevention equates to the cost of employing more than 12,000 additional full-time staff.

The Police Crime Commissioner elections will take place on 5 May.