The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) in the UK has reported that convenience stores have registered an estimated more than 1.1 million incidents of theft in 2022.

The association’s annual crime report revealed that repeat offenders commit 63% of shop theft.

The data also revealed that 79% of retailers have attributed the increasing theft to the rising cost-of-living crisis.

In addition, ACS said that 87% of convenience store colleagues suffered verbal abuse over the year.

Furthermore, retailers estimate that just 16% of retail crimes are reported to the police.

Over the year, convenience retailers invested £228m ($249.3) in retail crime prevention.

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By GlobalData

ACS, which is the voice of more than 33,500 local shops, said that the most stolen items were meat, alcohol and confectionery.

In response to this data, ACS urged the government to introduce a “Most Wanted” list of shop thieves in each police force area and calls to encourage local forces to use available tools to address anti-social behaviour.

It also called for investment in rehabilitation programmes for offenders while incentivising investment in crime prevention measures by the treasury.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The cost-of-living crisis is putting more pressure on people, and we are seeing an increase in theft from convenience stores. This is having a real impact on our members, who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“We need to see the government and the police take retail crime seriously and provide the support that is needed to keep our stores safe. Our five-point plan would make a real difference, and we urge the government to take action.”