The number of reported incidents of shop theft has been estimated at almost one million over the past year, according to the Association of Convenience Store’s Crime Report 2018.

The report estimates that more than 950,000 incidents of theft were reported over the past 12 months, rising from 575,000 in the previous year.

The results are based on 31 responses from retailers, representing 7,103 convenience stores, with the results scaled up to include 49,918 stores across the sector.

On this basis, more than 13,437 incidents of violence would have been reported by retailers during the past year, with many more having gone unreported.

Retailers surveyed said that violence against staff was the issue they were most concerned about when dealing with crime.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers and their staff are facing violence and abuse on a regular basis for enforcing the law, whether it be through challenging shop thieves, refusing the sale of age-restricted products such as tobacco and alcohol, or refusing to serve people that are intoxicated.

“Retailers need a consistent response from the police to ensure that when a crime is committed against a retailer it is taken seriously by the police and the courts.”

The 2018 report also revealed that more than 2,800 burglaries and 9,300 robberies were committed against retailers in the last year, with the total cost of fraud (counterfeit notes, credit and debit card fraud etc.) to retailers estimated at £24m.