With shoplifting on the rise, Catch a Thief offers a new option for retailers:

Despite retailers investing more money than ever in crime prevention, the ACS Crime Report 2017 made damning reading with figures showing that shoplifting is costing stores on average £4,631 per year.

Retailer Raj Aggarwal told Asian Trader that recent rises in shoplifting has encouraged him to enlist the services of Catch a Thief.

“In December I lost £1,000 of stock to shoplifting,” said Aggarwal, owner of Spar Hackenthorpe in Sheffield. “I initially thought Catch A Thief would be expensive but it was just a few pounds a month.”

Catch A Thief is a website set up by Farrah McNutt which displays moving footage of suspects committing crimes in convenience stores.

Aggarwal is happy with the service it has provided so far: “They get involved in the whole process. We have put up stickers telling shoplifters that the premises are protected by Catch A Thief and this acts as an extra deterrent.”

“It is early days but Farrah is working hard to get the CCTV videos onto social media platforms. We will see what happens, but this is much cheaper than hiring a security guard.”

McNutt told Asian Trader she got the idea for Catch A Thief from her days shoplifting as a teenager.

“It was too easy!” said McNutt. “I thought that if my community and family would have seen me shoplifting that would have stopped me.”

The company, which launched in January, already has a number of retailers using the service.

“It is mainly for independent stores as they don’t write off their stock like multiples do,” said McNutt, whose venture is supported by The Prince’s Trust.

The ACS Crime Report showed 45% of shopkeepers felt drug and alcohol addiction fuelled shop theft, however, Farrah McNutt suggested another factor plays a part.

“I think shoplifting is going up because suspects know that as soon as they are out the store they are home dry,” said McNutt. “I knew as long as I wasn’t caught in store nothing was going to come out of that footage. Catch A Thief is helping put a stop to that idea.”