Annual cost of retail crime soars to £1.4bn

The overall cost of retail crime has increased by 31 per cent to £1.4bn a year, according to a British Retail Consortium (BRC) crime survey.

The riots in August 2011 highlighted the importance of tackling retail crime at an early stage, said the BRC. "This criminal behaviour had a significant impact on retail businesses but most importantly on retail staff and customers. While reassuring to see so many of those involved given custodial sentences, the high percentage who had previous convictions remains a significant concern."

Increases in threats and verbal abuse to retail staff increased by 83 per cent. Robberies went up by 20 per cent, with retailers reporting an increase in the use of weapons and violence.

Despite a reduction in theft and burglaries reported in this year's survey, the value of these offences has increased significantly.

B2B Links marketing director Jeremy Davies said Webbs garden centres were among the one centre a week to have brought in security tagging recently. He added that B2B can now deploy a secret shopper thief who gives feedback on security.

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