Retailers face soaring theft bill

SHOPLIFTING together with theft by employees is costing Scottish retailers more than £300 million a year – with meat, razor blades, condoms and power tools among the most frequently stolen items.

More than one in five retailers believe police should be doing more to help them deal with external and internal theft, according to the research from Martec International.

A third of all thefts are shoplifting while one fifth is theft by employees, according to the study which shows levels of theft in Scottish stores rose by 10 per cent last year – rising from 0.9 per cent of total sales in 2010 to 1 per cent in 2011.

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Frances Riseley, deputy managing director of Martec International, said: “We believe theft and fraud cost Scottish retailers £306m last year, a significant sum of money as retailers continue to struggle to come to terms with the current recession.

“If retailers are to survive the current economic crisis, it is essential they reduce their losses and law enforcement can play a significant role in that battle. Whilst extra help from the police is essential for retailers, they could also benefit from developing strong internal cultures as theft by own staff remains a big problem accounting for nearly a quarter of all losses.”

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said: “The police service works closely with the retail industry both in terms of preventing theft and other loss and in the investigation and reporting of alleged criminality. Shoplifting and the unauthorised removal of goods or materials by staff are theft and if the police are made aware they will investigate and where appropriate submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal. The relationship between the police and the retail security industry is a good one.”