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The cost of retail crime for retailers in Scotland averaged over £12,000 per store in the past year, according to new findings from the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF).

Figures released today in the SGF’s Crime Report & Safer Business Guide 2023/24 revealed that retail crime is “crippling the sector”, with an annual cost of approximately £62.9m.

The report found that 99.5% of convenience retailers experience shoplifting on a daily basis, while all of them believe that shop theft has increased.

It was reported that more than 90% of stores experience violent incidents against their staff at least once a week, while hate crimes occur monthly.

The report also exposed a decline in trust in the Scottish Justice System, with over two-thirds of respondents claiming they are either unlikely or very unlikely to report shoplifting incidents to the police.

Moreover, it revealed that more than half of respondents experience daily incidents of abuse when refusing a sale or when asking for proof of age.

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE revealed that almost every week the SGF is told of another terrible incident in one of its members’ stores: “From machete and knife attacks to organised gangs roving through communities targeting vulnerable businesses to loot. It’s completely understandable that some members of staff are now refusing to come to work for fear of their safety.

“Sadly, these incidents and many others even more distressing and harrowing cases of shop theft, abuse, threatening behaviour, and violence are now commonplace in stores right across Scotland. Our annual survey of Scottish convenience stores shows just how bad things have become.”

Cheema explained that the price of retail crime in not the only escalating problem, but the harm to the physical health and wellbeing of retailers and staff, and the trauma carried home to people’s families and their local communities.

“That is why we desperately need Ministers to take urgent action, now. The police and courts can’t cope, and many crimes are going unreported because retailers don’t believe the authorities will respond. Offenders know they’re unlikely to face any consequences for their crimes and even if they are arrested, many will spend years awaiting conviction,” he said.

Cheema has urged the Scottish Government to act immediately “before things get even worse”.