Charity shops are suffering an epidemic of theft because police have turned their backs on retail crime, new report claims
- Losses from criminal activity across the retail sector topped £1billion last year
- Charities are also considered ‘fair game’ by thieves, according to figures
- Seven out of 10 retailers rated police response to crime ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’
- Report claims police will not attend if stolen goods are worth less than £200
Charity shops are facing a ‘painful’ epidemic of theft as police turn their backs on retail crime, a report warns today.
Figures show losses from criminal activity across the retail sector topped £1billion for the first time last year, and even charity shops run by volunteers are considered fair game by thieves.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said 424 cases of violent or abusive behaviour against shop workers were reported each day in the year to April, up 9 percent on the previous 12 months.
But seven out of ten retailers said the police response to crime was poor or very poor.
Losses from criminal activity across the retail sector topped £1billion last year, claims new report, and even charity shops run by volunteers are considered fair game by thieves (pictured, the thoroughfare in Woodbridge, Suffolk, May 2019)
Robin Osterley, chief of the Charity Retail Association, said: ‘The fact people are volunteering in these circumstances can be incredibly destructive for their morale.’
The report noted a trend for thefts of small amounts, with the perception that police will not attend if the stolen goods are worth less than £200.
Clothes were the main items taken from charity shops, along with bric-a-brac and vinyl records.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson called for a stronger police response to retail crime and legislation for tougher sentences for those who assault staff.
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