Two store detectives working for high-profile retailer Jonathan James apprehended 39 thieves, six of whom were carrying knives, in their first full week on duty in one of his stores.

Jonathan, director of James Convenience Retail, recently hired the detectives at one of his stores to combat vast stock losses and protect his staff, who are under “a constant threat of violence”. He believes the police are not doing enough to respond to incidents.

“We started to notice over the last three months a severe increase stock losses. We took that to mean that we were being targeted by a group or gang of thieves, so we took the step to hire private security from EOE security, which is a branch of the East of England Co-op,” he told C-Store.

“Within the first full week of them working in the store, they apprehended 39 thieves, six of which were carrying knives. The police have been involved on a few occasions, arresting two of them – but these were more for the violent threat than any potential theft.

“The police do seem to be pleased with the professional statements that our store detectives have been providing, however.”

Jonathan dismissed as “nonsense” the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which showed the number of police-recorded shop theft incidents for the year ending June 2018 reached 382,706, just a 1% increase on the previous year.

“It is just a sign of the times. We had come to the conclusion that there was going to be absolutely no response from the police if we reported a theft. That is why you see a lot of retailers just dealing with it by themselves now,” Jonathan said.

“Having in-store detectives does come with a huge cost, but we just hope that the cost goes some way towards decreasing our losses. Had we not hired this security, we would have continued to lose stock rapidly.”

The majority of Jonathan’s 75 stores, which are based across the East Midlands and North West, operate under the Select Convenience fascia.