Security tags deter ham-fisted shoplifters

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UK retailers lost £800 million to shoplifters last year, with lingerie, fresh meat and razor blades among the most stolen items.

The total number of incidents recorded by police rose by three per cent from 2013, though it is feared the true number is much higher as many firms are not reporting thefts.

It has emerged that one major UK retailer is security tagging prosciutto ham in a bid to stop thefts of one of its most popular festive food lines over the key winter sales period.

Three out of Yorkshire’s four police forces saw a rise in the number of shoplifting incidents last year. Humberside Police saw a rise of five per cent between 2013 and 2014, from 7,353 to 7,702.

North Yorkshire Police saw a rise of three per cent, from 3,907 to 4,043, while South Yorkshire’s figures rose by two per cent, from 10,126 shoplifting incidents to 10,342.

West Yorkshire Police was one of the few forces in the country to see a fall during the same period, recording 13,870 shoplifting incidents, a four per cent fall from the 2013 total of 14,490.

According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, £770 million worth of merchandise was stolen by employees last year. Across Europe, the source of loss from company inventories varies, with Germany seeing 65 percent of its losses from shoplifting.

Russell Holland, global accounts director at Checkpoint Systems, which provided a grant to pay for the survey, said: “Most people expect shoplifting to be the main source of losses in the retail industry – indeed with around 900 incidents being recorded by the police every day it remains a major issue for stores across the country.

“However, there are other areas, such as internal loss and process errors that should not be forgotten.”