Shoplifting ‘epidemic’ sees record number of thefts locally

Shoplifting has reached record levels after soaring by more than a third in a year.

For the first time since records started, there were more than 400,000 cases reported to police in England and Wales, according to the ONS.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris says the sobering stats are “no surprise” as he once again urged the region’s stores to apply for grants from his Mayoral Combined Authority to help the West fight back.

Safer Shops West allows independent shops to receive £2,000 towards the costs of security measures such as CCTV, screens, body cams and hand-held radios.

Mr Norris said: “These figures will sadly be of surprise to no one – especially those shopworkers on the frontline of a shoplifting epidemic in the West of England, and across the country.

“This level of out-of-control crime is unsustainable and risks some communities losing local stores. For the shops that stay open, they will be forced to put up prices to make up for the lost goods – making this frightening cost-of-living crisis even worse for all.

“I urge shops to get in touch with my Mayoral Combined Authority, and join the crime fightback.”

The Mayor is campaigning for tougher action from ministers to tackle shoplifting and protect shopworkers – including restoring the number of Police Community Support Officers to 2010 levels, and introducing a standalone offence of assaulting a shop worker.

Avon and Somerset saw a 41% increase in shoplifting in 2023.