Lincolnshire store owners have lashed out at a police scheme to dissuade them from reporting the theft of goods worth £20 and under.

Humberside Police have suggested retailers keep a log of low-value thefts and submit it to a police community support officer (PCSO) on a fortnightly basis, rather than call the police to report individual incidents. The logs would be studied by a PCSO to see if patterns were emerging.

Anthony Bush of Killingholme Stores in Immingham described the scheme as "ludicrous" and vowed to keep on calling the police. "This is people's livelihoods we are talking about. I don't care what they are suggesting; if I notice shoplifting I will call the police."

Makhan Singh Sidhu of Sidhu Bros Stores, also in Immingham, said he loses about £75 a week to shoplifting. "We live in a society where there appears to be no real deterrent against thieves, and this is another example of this."

Inspector Will Jenkins, who is leading the scheme, said investigating individual incidents was time-consuming for retailers and police officers. "It is not about not reporting it, but just a different way of doing it," he said.