Shoplifting offences have risen to their highest level in 13 years, police figures have revealed.
A total of 336,505 shoplifting offences in the year ending in March were recorded, a three per cent rise compared with the previous year.
That is the highest figure since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in 2003.
The increased number of shoplifting offences is one of the factors behind a 2 per cent rise in the number of ‘property crimes’ logged by forces in England and Wales.
“The longer-term trend in shoplifting recorded by the police is different from that seen for other theft offences,” the report said.
“While most theft offences saw steady declines over much of the last decade, incidents of recorded shoplifting have shown comparatively little change over this time.”
Increases were reported in 28 of the 44 police force areas, according to a study published by the Office for National Statistics.
No reason was given for the increase.
Criminal damage, arson and fraud were the main drivers behind the rise in “property crimes”, while theft from a person and vehicle offences also showed slight increases.
But researchers said the long term trend in property crime is downwards.