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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Surge in shoplifting in Cumbria, figures show

Retailers in Cumbria have seen a surge in shoplifting in the last year, with an increase in reported incidents of 12 per cent.

Sgt Richard Higgin photo
Sgt Richard Higgin

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics for 2013 show a substantial rise in shoplifting in areas including Cumbria.

Most commonly stolen items in the county include expensive clothing and alcohol.

And the British Retail Consortium says shops last year suffered the highest level of theft for nine years, costing £511m – up 166 per cent up from 2007-08.

Carlisle city centre Police Sergeant Richard Higgin told the of the wide variety of offenders in our region.

“There are different types of shoplifters ranging from professional teams who travel the country stealing large volumes of high value clothing and alcoholics who steal alcohol to drug addicts who steal most commonly items easily sold on such as bacon, coffee and perfumes and kids who steal confectionery,” he said.

“There are also a number who steal to make ends meet due to redundancy and the cost of living.”

But Sgt Higgin said the situation was less severe in the city centre than the rest of Cumbria.

“I can only comment on Carlisle where we had an extra 55 offences in the city centre, which is around a five per cent rise,” he said.

The shoplifting surge has not affected everyone in Cumbria. Some retailers, such as Carlisle’s branch of the clothing store Monsoon, have bucked the trend and are seeing a drop in stolen items after introducing measures to crack down on in store thefts.

Some areas of the country have seen worse shoplifting spikes than Cumbria. The worst affected regions are Nottinghamshire, which saw a 19 per cent increase, and the West Midlands, which has had to handle 20 per cent more cases of the crime.

Concern has been growing nationally over new methods being utilised by professional shoplifters to avoid normal security measures.

Retailers have fallen victim to offenders using foil lined bags and electrical neck devices to block store alarms.

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