Retailers have raised concerns after a 20% rise in shoplifting tackled by Cleveland Police.
Cleveland Police reported 8,294 incidences of shoplifting in 2017-2018 - a 20% increase from the previous year - according to data from data.police.uk.
The rise was revealed by online marketplace OnBuy.com, who investigated the total number of shoplifting offences that were recorded by 42 police forces across England and Wales in the last financial year.
The figures show that in April 2016 to March 2017 there were 6,917 shoplifting offences in the Cleveland Police area, highlighting the jump.
The rise means that the Cleveland Police ranks as 18 out of 42 different forces for the number of shoplifting offences in the last year.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “We recognise that there has been an increase both locally and nationally in relation to shoplifting offences, alongside some other crimes.
“Recently a survey was carried out with retailers which identified that police are expected to do more.
“We are currently in the final stages of a retail crime review with the aim of improving the service that we deliver to retailers, with a focus on prolific offenders.
“There have been some excellent examples within the last few months of retail crime being significantly reduced in specific shops where officers and retailers have worked together closely, and we hope to expand on this good work in the future.”
Comparatively Northumbria Police reported 14,414 instances of shoplifting in 2017-2018, ranking six out of 42 different police forces across England and Wales.
While Durham Constabulary ranked 31 out of the 42 forces with 4,430 incidents, meaning that in the region Cleveland had the highest increase of the offence being committed.
A Durham Constabulary spokesman said: “We recognise there has been an increase both locally and nationally in relation to shoplifting offences.
“This could be attributed to a number of reasons, one of which is that it is now easier than ever for businesses in County Durham and Darlington to report shoplifting offences to us thanks to the introduction of SentrySIS.
“The system allows businesses to report shoplifting offences to the police electronically, saving police and retail staff a significant amount of time.
“It has been rolled out across the force following a pilot in Darlington, which saw solved rates for shoplifting rise by 21%”.And the increase comes as worrying news for retailers with shoplifting accounting for £500 million of the £700 million direct cost incurred from retail crime in the UK between April 2016 to March 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com said: “With the overall number of shoplifting incidents increasing from the previous year, it’s a crime which is financially burdening retailers.
“It’s unfortunate because many owners spend a lot of time, money and energy ensuring all aspects of their operations are running effectively and efficiently.
“Whilst shoplifting may seem difficult to prevent, there are certain cost-effective precautions retailers can take to deter shoplifters from targeting them.
“Precautions such as training employees to identify the behaviours associated with shoplifters and appropriate signage to warn potential offenders about the seriousness of the matter.”