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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Police reports 46% spike in shoplifting incidents in Mid & East Antrim

Retailers are counting the cost of a rise in shoplifting due to the cost of living crisis, a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) has been told.

Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday evening, Inspector Pete Cunningham, a neighbourhood officer in Belfast city centre, said that police are anticipating business crime to be “prominent over the next months”.

He also noted a “really bad spike” in shoplifting in May and June.

Insp Cunningham reported a rise in shoplifting in Mid and East Antrim by 46 per cent, from 1,260 incidents to 1,931 compared to this time last year.

There has been a 30 per cent increase in incidents of customers making off without paying in the borough, from 262 to 384 reported incidents.

Business burglary has increased by 44  per cent from 188 to 271 break-ins.

He went on to say that the rise in business crime is “on a par” with other parts of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.  Shoplifting accounts for 6.5 per cent of all recorded crime in Northern Ireland.

The inspector urged businesses to keep CCTV up-to-date and to report all incidents including those which may be not be considered important such as tag removal and he underlined the importance of retailers sharing information.

“For retailers, our strength is working together and having effective communication among retailers to help their neighbours and really report everything from tag finds to stock count,” he said.

“It really shapes our information and our deployment and helps us to understand where pressure points are.

“People do not think tag finds are important but they are important. Please report everything and work with neighbourhood officers if you have issues.”

Speaking at the launch of the PSNI’s Operation Seasons Greetings on Thursday, Glyn Roberts Retail NI Chief Executive, said: 

“This is the most important time of the year for our local retail sector. We urge consumers to stay safe, be vigilant of shoplifters, plan their shopping trips and be kind with hard-working retail staff.

“We also appeal to our members to work with the police to ensure shoppers and staff are safe this festive season.”


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