Robberies in the convenience sector increased last year as stores continued to be seen as easy targets.

According to the latest Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Survey, the number of robberies increased by 102% (207 to 419 incidents) in 2011, however the average cost per instance dropped from £2,880 to £1,252.

“The level of crime being experienced by convenience retailers continues to rise, but considerable investment in crime prevention measures has led to a decline in the number of till snatches and the value of stock lost in robberies,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said. “The message to criminals is clear: targeting convenience stores is becoming less profitable.”

According to the 3,112 respondents, instances of staff theft rose by 28% with the average cost per instance rising by 90%.

Burglaries also rose by 40% in the past year however till snatches fell to their lowest level since the Crime Survey began in 2008.

The survey also revealed that retailers and their staff are least likely to report incidents of verbal abuse to the police.

Lowman urged retailers to report every incident in order for the police to act on them. “We must ensure that these offences are punished and not just swept under the rug,” he added.