Supermarket thefts rise by 22 per cent in South Yorkshire as cost of living crisis bites

Thefts from supermarkets in South Yorkshire have risen by 22 per cent since 2020 – but have fallen compared to 2019’s figures.
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Information obtained by the Local Democracy Reporting Service shows that South Yorkshire Police recorded 4,470 instances of shoplifting from supermarkets in 2019, compared with 3,442 in 2020, 3,322 in 2021 and 4,224 in 2022.

Government statistics show that from October 2021 to October 2023 food prices rose by 28 per cent.

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It previously took more than 13 years, from April 2008 to October 2021, for average food prices to rise by the same amount.

South Yorkshire Police recorded 4,224 instances of shoplifting from supermarkets in 2022.South Yorkshire Police recorded 4,224 instances of shoplifting from supermarkets in 2022.
South Yorkshire Police recorded 4,224 instances of shoplifting from supermarkets in 2022.

Global supply chain disruptions and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been blamed for the rise in food prices – as some are turning to theft to eat.

Sheffield has the highest rate of theft from supermarkets, with 1,711 reported incidents in 2022. This is followed by Doncaster at 1,161, Barnsley at 765, and Rotherham at 582.

Chief Inspector David Struggles, of South Yorkshire Police, said the force remains committed to tackling retail crime and it has made great strides in helping to keep businesses and shop workers across the area safe from theft by targeting well-known and prolific shoplifters.

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“We have built strong partnerships with businesses and dedicated retail crime teams are continuing to build up intelligence on known shoplifters,” he said.

“A recent CCTV operation that took months of planning saw three prolific thieves who targeted the same supermarket convicted of separate theft offences.

“We have stepped up patrols targeted patrols in hotspot areas that are particularly affected by retail crime and we will continue to share crime prevention advice with businesses and shop owners so they can protect themselves from shoplifters.

“We are also backing the Government’s new Retail Crime Action Plan and Project Pegasus which has been launched to specifically combat shoplifting.

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“We have a zero-tolerance attitude towards retail crime. It is not victimless and it directly affects the livelihoods of people trying to make an honest living.

“I would encourage any business or members of local communities with concerns about shoplifters to contact us on 101, or 999 in an emergency.”

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