Shoplifters could face stricter penalties following a government review of the Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) scheme.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said that any changes would strengthen the guidance when it comes to shoplifting and the review would assess whether retail theft should continue to be an PND offence.

The announcement came after Straw revealed that more than 20,000 of the 45,146 PNDs issued for shop theft in 2007 were unpaid in response to a Parliamentary question tabled by Conservative MP Anne McIntosh.

There have been concerns from retailers and trade bodies that PNDs are not being used correctly when it comes to retail theft and that multiple PNDs are issued without any follow-up.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "We are listening to the concerns of retail trade organisations and others over the inappropriate use of the disposal and will report our conclusions to the House soon."

McIntosh has also tabled a Ten Minute Rule Bill on shoplifting that would limit PNDs to first offences. It is due for a second reading in the House of Commons later this month.