Hartlepool third highest in England and Wales for shoplifting as stores tell of daily battle with one losing £2,000 a week

Hartlepool shop workers have told of their daily battle against shoplifters after the town was revealed to be one of the worst places in the country for the crime.
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Latest crime data for England and Wales shows that Hartlepool has the third highest shoplifting rate per head of population behind Westminster, in London, and Lincoln.

The town sees 12.76 shoplifting crimes per 100,000 people while the North East is the region most affected by the problem.

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Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner is to hold a summit next week to address retail crime.

Hartlepool convenience stores have seen the impact of a rise in shoplifting.Hartlepool convenience stores have seen the impact of a rise in shoplifting.
Hartlepool convenience stores have seen the impact of a rise in shoplifting.

Supermarket and convenience shop staff in Hartlepool have told how they have witnessed a rise in brazen thefts in recent months.

Hadj Nouraddine, of Hadj’s Mini Market in the town centre, said: “It’s nearly every day.

"Anything they get the chance to steal they will; sweets, drink, anything.

"It’s very bad, they are taking my profit.”

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner is to hold a summit to address retail crime issues.Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner is to hold a summit to address retail crime issues.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner is to hold a summit to address retail crime issues.
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Sugunjan, the owner of LS off licence and convenience store, in York Road, said: “We have had four of five incidents in the last month where they come in and steal alcohol and run out. None of it has ever been recovered.

"We tried locking the doors but they damaged them. Sometimes the police don’t turn up at all.”

He said he was forced to close another store in Middlesbrough after insurance problems following two break-ins.

Vinil Bonagiri, owner of Cascades convenience, in Andrew Street, Hartlepool, has not seen a big increase in thefts although has had problems with one particular customer.

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"This man came into the store while I was working out the back and picked up a two-litre bottle of cider,” he said.

"I chased after him but he ran off into traffic. I saw him hanging around again. When I told him not to come in he slammed the door.”

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And the manager of one Hartlepool supermarket chain, who asked not to be named, revealed the recent rise in shoplifting was costing it £2,000 a week at one point.

They said: “They’re relentless. It’s daily.”

There were 170 reported incidents of shoplifting in July, according to Home Office figures, which is a 20% rise on the average figure for the year ending July.

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Advertising next week’s summit in Middlesbrough, Cleveland Police said: “The PCC is aware that a number of stores in Teesside and Hartlepool have faced challenges with crime, anti-social behaviour and violence against store workers.

"This event is an opportunity for Steve to hear concerns first-hand and work to understand possible solutions.

“There will be input on the day from the PCC, Cleveland Police and the National Business Crime Solution.”

Office for National Statistics figures show that shoplifting has risen by 22% this year nationally.

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Business insurance expert Cameron Jaques at website money.co.uk said: “With the North East of England having the highest poverty rate of all the regions, and Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Newcastle-upon-Tyne being in the top 25 UK shoplifting hotspots, it’s safe to think there’s a correlation there.

"And if the cost of living crisis is here to stay, it’s likely that supermarkets and retailers will have to deal with shoplifting as a regular occurrence.”

The PCC event is held on Monday, October 9, at The Trinity Centre, The Market Place, in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, between 10am-noon.

Bookings can be made at www.eventbrite.co.uk.