UK retailers lost £1.6bn due to retail crimes during the 2011-12 fiscal, posting an increase of 15.6% when compared to the previous fiscal, said the British Retail Consortium.

The trade body compiled a report titled ‘Retail Crime Survey 2012’ that covered a wide spectrum of retail-trade related offences and the £1.6bn figure includes the value of goods stolen, damage to retailers and costs incurred towards preventive measures.

Customer theft rose by 59% with average customer theft value surging 28% to £109.19 per incident; up from £85.50 in the previous financial year and accounted for 28% of the total loss by value.

The growth in e-retail was amply illustrated with e-crime contributing to 37% of the total losses, estimated at a whopping £205.4m for the year.

According to the report, "The strength of e-commerce in the UK will inevitably be accompanied by increased criminal activity focused on exploiting these new channels.

"The challenge for all concerned is to respond effectively to this type of crime."

The Retail Crime Survey also revealed that the falling confidence of retailers on police forces with an 18% drop in fraud cases reported to the police for the year.

Employee theft and burglaries rose twice to 10.2% and 19.4% respectively as against their previous year numbers.

"Physical violence, threats of violence and verbal threats all fell leading to the lowest rate of violence against staff recorded in over eight years," added the report.