POLICE have urged struggling families to seek help rather than turning to crime in an attempt to beat the recession.
In September, Cleveland Police were called to 75 incidents of shoplifting where food and other groceries had been stolen or attempts had been made to steal items.
Among some of the goods taken were loaves of bread, meat, cheese, eggs and biscuits and other groceries including coffee, fabric conditioner and washing tablets.
Police believe there are people who are ashamedly forced into shoplifting to feed themselves and their families.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Dickson said: “My message is directed to those who believe they have no choice but to steal food to survive; there is help and support and turning to crime is not the answer to the problem.
“A criminal record will last a lot longer than a phone call to a support agency.
“Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger said: “As Teessiders we need to pull together to help those living in our area who are in need by raising awareness of local support mechanisms.