Mapped: Areas of the UK with the highest levels of shoplifting

Shoplifting has soared 24 per cent in past year amid cost of living squeeze

Matt Mathers
Monday 21 August 2023 18:33 BST
Related: Shoplifter steals vapes and sweets

A map has revealed the areas of the UK with the highest rates of shoplifting.

Police recorded a total of 275,076 offences in England and Wales last year, up 24 per cent when compared with the previous 12 months.

The cost of living squeeze, which has seen energy bills and the price of food soar, has been blamed for the increase in shoplifting.

Supermarkets called on police to do more to tackle shoplifting and over the weekend John Lewis said it will offer officers free coffee and discounted food in a bid to tackle the issue.

The upmarket shops hope the presence of uniformed police and patrol cars being on site will deter thieves in the same way motorists slow down on the roads when they see officers.

According to a recent study by TradingPedia, the City of London had the highest rate of shoplifting rate at 7,907 incidents per 100,000 residents.

The research - based on analysis of Office for National Statistics data for the year ending September 2022 - showed that Cleveland, North Yorkshire, had the second-highest rate on 1005 per 100,000 residents and Nottingham was third on 1,005.

Surrey had the lowest shoplifting rate at 309 cases per 100,000 residents.

City of London had the highest rate of shoplifting
City of London had the highest rate of shoplifting (Independent)

Over the past 12 months food prices overall have increased by 17 per cent, with the price of some meats, cheese and yogurts doubling

The number of reported shoplifting incidents has soared in the most deprived regions of the UK, where the cost of living squeeze has hit the hardest.

A survey carried out by the ONS between 26 July and 6 August this year found more than half of adults (51 per cent) said they bought less food when food shopping in the past two weeks.

Rising food costs was the most commonly reported reason among the 56 per cent of adults who said their cost of living had risen compared with a month ago.

Of those, 97 per cent said one of the reasons for their rising costs was higher food shopping prices.

According to more detailed analysis from an ONS survey covering the period 8 February to 1 May 2023, 1 in 20 adults (5 per cent) said they had run out of food in the past two weeks and been unable to afford more.

Last month the boss of Co-op warned that shop crime is out of control after one store was looted three times in a single day.

New data released by the supermarket chain revealed it had recorded its highest-ever levels of retail crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour this year.

The company said there was a 35 per cent increase in crime this year, with almost 1,000 incidents a day in the six months to June 2023, while one inner city London store was targeted three times in a day.

Matt Hood, Co-op Food’s managing director, said he had seen “horrific incidents of brazen and violent theft” in its stores, and warned that “out of control” levels of crime could deprive communities of their local shops.

Earlier in August the Ministry of Justice published a new draft code of practice aimed at governing how police respond to low-level offending.

Under the proposals shoplifting, drug possession were among the types of crime for which first-time offenders could receive a caution instead of being sent to court, according to a report.

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