Mapped - what is shoplifting level in your neighbourhood as it triples in some areas

Shoplifting has soared in some areas with organised gangs targeting retailers
Shoplifting has soared in some areas with organised gangs targeting retailers (stock picture) -Credit:Getty

Retailers have called for more protection for shop workers - as a new map shows the parts of the country where shoplifting has rocketed by more than 100% in the last year. Troubling figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that shoplifting increased by 37% in England and Wales last year, rising from around 315,000 crimes in 2022 to a record 430,000 offences.

But in some parts of the country, the rise in theft from shops was much steeper - trebling in one area and doubling in six others.
Home Office figures show that in Eastbourne, Sussex, police recorded 647 offences in 2022, and 1,918 last year - a 196% rise. That was the highest increase seen in more than 300 police community partnership areas, which broadly match local authority areas.

Eastbourne was followed by Mid Sussex, where shoplifting increased by 137%, and then South Derbyshire (112%). Horsham in Sussex, South Tyneside in the North East, Blaby in Leicestershire, and Epsom and Ewell in Surrey all saw rises of 100% or more.
Of more than 300 community safety partnership areas, only 12 saw a drop in shoplifting, while eight areas saw theft remain stable with only small increases below 2%.

Parts of Wales saw the biggest drop in shoplifting with theft down 29% in Ceredigion and 21% in Powys and Pembrokeshire. In England, South Lakeland in Cumbria saw the biggest drop in shoplifting, by 10%.

You can see whether shoplifting is rising or falling where you live using our interactive map.

Sussex Police says the rise in shoplifting offences in areas like Eastbourne, Mid Sussex, and Horsham can be attributed to greater confidence in reporting retail crime after officers proactively engaged with businesses to encourage them to contact police.

The force has also introduced measures to make reporting crime easier and more efficient which it says “has led to a marked increase in the number of reports being received”. Chief Superintendent Rachel Carr added: “We acknowledge the financial and emotional impact business crime has on owners and employees, and we take each report seriously, irrespective of the value.

“Our dedicated Business Crime Team works incredibly closely with our local businesses to share information, gather evidence, and prosecute offenders. These positive working relationships have helped secure numerous arrests, charges, convictions and Criminal Behaviour Orders against some of the most prolific offenders causing harm to our business community.”

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has now called for more to be done nationally to protect retailers, shoppers, and shop workers. The association, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said a survey of members revealed that more than a third (35%) had experienced verbal abuse within their shops.

Bira says its research has shown that “incidents of physical abuse remain alarmingly high, with an increase in shopkeepers facing violence, including threats with weapons such as needles, knives, and even instances of hammers being thrown at them”. It says 70% of retailers and their employees who were physically assaulted opted not to report the incidents to the police.

Bira’s marketing director, John Halliday, said: “The latest ONS crime figures paint a troubling picture for independent retailers and businesses across the UK. The 37% increase in shoplifting highlights the significant challenges faced by our sector. Retail crime not only inflicts financial losses but also poses a grave threat to the safety and well-being of shop staff and customers.

“It's imperative that urgent action is taken to address this concerning trend and ensure the security of both businesses and their employees and customers. Bira has been trying to tackle this issue for a long time and will continue to work with the Home Office and police forces to better protect businesses, their owners, and people who work in the shop.”

Bira has now called for “immediate and decisive action” to combat retail crime, including increased police presence in retail areas, improved reporting mechanisms, and enhanced support for victims. In April, the government launched a new initiative aimed at tackling retail crime, which includes creating a standalone criminal offence for assaulting shop workers.
Assistant Chief Constable Alex Goss, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for retail crime, said shoplifting had a “devastating impact on businesses and communities”.

He added: “Since the launch of the Retail Crime Action Plan and Pegasus Partnership in late 2023, we’ve made significant progress in our policing response to shoplifting and it was encouraging to see much higher levels of confidence from retailers in policing at our recent roundtable.
“The recent proposed new standalone offence for assaults on retail workers demonstrates that violence will not be tolerated and we hope it will enable swift justice for those subject to this shocking and disturbing behaviour.”

Mr Goss said a dip sample of 31 forces in December showed police attended 76% of incidents where a shoplifter was detained and 60% where violence had been used, with nearly one in five forces recording a 100% attendance.