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Retail theft 'adds £180 to bill'

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Shoplifting and employee theft adds £180 to shopping bills every year, it is claimed

Shoplifting and employee theft adds £180 to shopping bills every year, it is claimed

Shoplifting and employee theft adds £180 to shopping bills every year, it is claimed

Thieves who pocket goods from Britain's high street stores add up to £180 to the average annual shopping bill of every family, it has been claimed.

Researchers said retailers lost stock worth £4.4 billion to shoplifters and light-fingered employees last year.

They found criminals' favourite hauls included branded clothing, accessories, children's wear, lingerie, meat, cheese, alcohol and even seafood.

The annual report was compiled from 42,000 shops across Europe by the Centre for Retail Research on behalf of Checkpoint Systems, a retail security company.

The total figure, an average of £12,054,794 every day, was recorded in the 12 months up to June 30.

Researchers found theft has fallen by 5.8% from £4.7 billion in the previous 12 months, but long-term trends show it is likely to continue rising.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, of the Centre for Retail Research, said the cost is passed on to honest shoppers who are already under a financial squeeze.

He said: "Even with the decline in retail theft, crime put an extra £180 on the average British family's yearly shopping bill. And that is a cost many people can ill-afford, with the recession only just behind us and the looming VAT rise."

Neil Matthews, of Checkpoint Systems, said a typical "theft spree" saw £93-worth of goods taken.

He said: "While the amount stolen in the UK may well have gone down, that doesn't mean the overall impact on the general public is any less significant. Shoplifting results in a £180 financial burden on every family in the country and so there is a real social obligation on the retail industry to do everything it can to tackle retail crime. Retailers are definitely making strides in the fight against shoplifting and their efforts have already started to pay dividends."

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