Shoplifting offences have increased by 37%, with the number rising to 430,104 compared to 315,040 in the year ending December 2022, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales marks the highest figure since police recording practices began for the year ending March 2003.

These new findings come after the last release of figures from the Crime Survey for England in Wales in October 2023, which found a 25% increase in theft from the previous year.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores explained that it’s sadly not surprising that official figures on theft have risen significantly. 

It comes after the ACS Crime Report estimated that convenience retailers have recorded over 5.6 million incidents of theft over the last year. 

Lowman said: “The vast majority of incidents that take place end up not being reported because of the time taken to report the crime and the lack of follow up from the police. Thieves are stealing on a regular basis without fear of apprehension, so it’s essential that every police force in the country takes theft seriously, not least because challenging thieves is one of the biggest triggers for abuse of shopworkers.“

Ahead of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections next week, the ACS has called on all PCCs to outline how their local forces are responding to theft, and to make tackling shop theft a priority in their police and crime plans.

The British Retail Consortium have also called on PCC candidates to get tough on retail crime.