Retailers in Scotland have urged the Scottish Executive to test criminals caught in their stores for drug misuse.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) believes there is a growing link between the misuse of drugs and crimes perpetrated against retailers and their staff, and that the Scottish Executive should address this as part of its Police Bill.

SRC director Fiona Moriarty said: “When the new Bill is introduced it will include measures to test individuals arrested for ‘trigger offences’ including retail crimes. If a store thief has a drug problem, it should be identified immediately and appropriate action taken as soon as possible for the benefit of everyone.”

Mubarak Ali, who runs a Spar store in the Swinton area of Glasgow, backed the SRC’s stance.

He commented: “A lot of people we catch shoplifting are only doing it to pay for their drug habit. It’s about time the government made that connection.”