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Sunday, 28 December 2014

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One in four shoplifting crimes in Cumbria involves food

Police chiefs say one in four shoplifting crimes in Cumbria involves theft of food.

Michelle Skeer photo
Michelle Skeer

The force says it is “difficult to generalise” why food is taken – but has urged anyone with any kind of difficulty that leads them to steal to reach out for help.

Figures covering the last three years show food makes up about 27 per cent of items stolen from shops.

The very latest statistics suggest this percentage slightly dipped last year but the figure still stands at about the 25 per cent mark.

The issue was raised at a top level meeting of senior police figures. The county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, asked what sort of items were being stolen in thefts.

Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said “food stuff” was among the more commonly stolen property in shoplifting crimes, with thieves favouring this over high value items.

She added: “We did a big targeted campaign prior to Christmas giving preventative advice in terms of the retail premises that are targeted more often.”

Speaking after the meeting, a police spokesman said: “We are constantly looking at new ways in which to help reduce this type of crime as the fact is stealing is against the law, no matter what the motivation.

“It is difficult to generalise why food is being shoplifted as a criminals’ motivation differs from person to person.

“There are, however, many charities and organisations dedicated to helping those who may be experiencing difficulties.

“We encourage anyone who is struggling to contact themt.”

There were a total of 10,075 thefts, covering all stolen property, in Cumbria last year.

Ray Howie, regional executive with the city’s branch of Retailers Against Crime – an alliance between shops and police – said recently that “trolley pushing” from supermarkets had gone up.

This type of crime involves thieves loading trolleys with groceries and pushing them out of the shop without paying.

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