Shop theft has increased annually by 5% according to the Office for National Statistics, the highest volume since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in 2003. 

The figures show that there were approximately 349,296 incidents of shop theft in the year ending September 2015, over 17,000 more than the previous year. 

Raaj Chandarana, owner of Tara’s News in High Wycombe, said the police did not prioritise crime at convenience stores. 

“The police don’t really want to know when it comes to retail crime at convenience stores, unless someone is physically hurt or weapons are involved. If you are a neighbourhood store you won’t get the police’s attention, instead you might get community officers if you’re lucky, but if you are a town centre store you are slightly more likely to get help,” he said. 

“Because there is no deterrent and no justice anymore, offenders will reoffend. The ACS is doing some good work on bringing attention to the issue and I hope it makes a difference.” 

Jatinder Sahota, owner of Max’s Londis in Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey, said: “I feel let down by the police in this area, I used to have a strong relationship with my PCSO’s but it seems that the police attitude towards retail crime has changed and it isn’t treated like a serious crime anymore. We have to email CCTV footage to them and they don’t come out to us anymore and that’s the last you hear about it sometimes.”

Figures from the ACS Crime Survey (2016) shows that shop theft alone cost the convenience sector over £43m between 2015-16, despite millions being spent on investment in crime prevention measures over the same time period. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Shop theft is a crime that needs be taken seriously—as these figures show, theft is rising and we need the government and police to make sure there is a robust response to shop theft, working closely with retailers. 

“In light of these figures, we also reiterate our call for retailers to report every incident to ensure that retail crime does not go underreported. Convenience stores are at the heart of our communities and their safety and concerns for their livelihoods cannot be ignored.” 

ACS will release the results of its 2017 Crime Survey on 9 March at the Crime Seminar in London. The seminar will hear from industry experts about how to successfully tackle retail crime.