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Almost a million Britons consider shop lifting presents this festive season

2.6 million British adults aged 16-64 admit shoplifting in the last 12 months – up 30% on the previous 12 months.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Almost a million Britons consider shop lifting presents this festive season

2.6 million British adults aged 16-64 admit shoplifting in the last 12 months – up 30% on the previous 12 months.

New research published by G4S Security Services reveals almost a million Britons are considering shoplifting presents to give to friends or family this festive season as a result of the credit crunch and the rapid increase in the cost of living since
the start of the year.

The Fifth Annual Retail Crime Survey reveals that 2.6 million British adults aged 16-64 admitted to shoplifting over the last 12 months - a 30 per cent increase on the previous 12 months. Cumulatively these criminals have stolen merchandise valued at over £783 million (2007: £747million).

Around 36,000 British adults each steal over £25,000 of goods from British stores annually. This hard core of shoplifters are often career criminals who steal-to-order specific items which are then resold on the black market. G4S warns that many of these shoplifters are regular drug users who steal to fund their addiction.

With the financial crisis threatening higher levels of unemployment, the research also suggests that job losses could see retailers facing a surge in shoplifting incidents, warns G4S. The research reveals over 1.6 million (4%) British adults would consider shoplifting if they lost their job. This figure soars to one-in-ten amongst 16-24 year olds. Meanwhile concerns over the rising cost of food could see an additional 1.3 million British adults contemplating retail theft.

Societal pressures can also contribute to increases in retail shrinkage. Jealousy of items owned by friends and family (keeping up with the Joneses) would drive over 650,000 Britons to considering shoplifting.

Douglas Greenwell, Sales & Marketing Director for G4S Security Services commented: “The difficult economic environment may lead more people to turn to shoplifting to maintain their current lifestyle, but retailers faced with declining sales can ill afford to lose additional revenue from shoplifting. These losses can be enough to drive small and medium sized retailers out of business.”

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