UK retailers have reported an increase in number of thefts in store, which was valued at £177 per incident in 2013, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Crime Survey.

The survey found that the number of thefts had increased by 62% in 2013, highest in the last nine years.

The increase in criminal activity was recorded despite retailers spending an average of £2m each on crime and loss prevention initiatives.

The survey also found that an estimated 2.7 million offences were reported in 2012-13 against retailers, which directly added £511m to retailers’ costs.

Additionally, the average cost per incident of criminal damage increased from £962 in 2012 to £2,062 in 2013, an increase of 114%.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511m last year, 166% higher than five years ago.

"Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted," Dickinson added.

"Last year we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight in ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber-attacks pose a critical threat to their business."

Dickinson said that retailers are now working closely with Police and Crime Commissioners and the new National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to fight this crime.