Retailers in England and Wales have been hit by a 4% increase in shoplifting, with over 378,725 offences reported in 2017-18, new data reveals.

The data was compiled from 42 police forces by online marketplace OnBuy.com.

The capital’s Metropolitan Police recorded the highest number of shoplifting incidences at 46,840 – the equivalent of 128 incidents a day, although this was down 2% year on year.

West Midlands Police followed, with 19,851 incidences of shoplifting reported, up 1% on the year before.

In third place, was West Yorkshire Police, with 18,491 shoplifting incidences recorded, a 3% increase from the year before.

In Carmarthenshire, Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police had the lowest number of shoplifting incidences at 1,861, however, the force experienced the highest year-on-year percentage increase at 21%.

Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com said: “The findings from this research are intriguing. With the overall number of shoplifting incidents increasing from the previous year, it’s a crime which is financially burdening retailers.

“It’s unfortunate because many owners spend a lot of time, money and energy ensuring all aspects of their operations are running effectively and efficiently.

“Whilst shoplifting may seem difficult to prevent, there are certain cost-effective precautions retailers can take to deter shoplifters from targeting them. Precautions such as training employees to identify the behaviours associated with shoplifters and appropriate signage to warn potential offenders about the seriousness of the matter”.

To help deter shoplifters OnBuy.com also recommends that retailers face up products to create a solid wall on the shelves, ensure that one member of staff is always located at the front of the store to greet customers as they enter and to train employees to spot typical shoplifting behaviours, such as being in the same aisle for a long period of time, wearing bulky clothing when it is warm outside, and repeatedly looking around when picking up items.