Men are more likely than women to shoplift and put their hand in the till, according to new research.

A report commissioned by retail security specialists Checkpoint Systems shows that out of a prison population of 75,000, there are currently 1,200 women behind bars for retail-related crimes, compared to 4,000 men.

The research also showed that of 2,476 staff thefts reported by 14 retailers over a 12-month period, 1,277 were carried out by men. The age range for such offences is wide - between 15 and 50.

The report, compiled by the Centre of Retail Research, also highlighted that there is a difference in terms of what men and women steal. Women are more likely to target clothes, groceries and health products, whereas men tend to go for electronic goods and hardware.

Mark Cleary, who runs two Spar stores in Manchester, agreed with the majority of the report’s findings when it came to shoplifting but thought men targeted grocery stores just as much as women.

He said: “The majority of shoplifters we catch, whether it be in person or on the CCTV, are young men. We sometimes get women shoplifting, but they are usually in the company of a male accomplice.”