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    Dual armed robberies hit Leeds stores

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    Two armed robberies in stores have rattled Leeds as local police is now appealing to the public for any information that could lead to the apprehension of the suspects involved.

    According to local reports, the Co-op store on Oakwood Lane and the Sainsbury’s Local on Moorgate Road, Kippax, were targeted by masked individuals wielding a knife and a crowbar, respectively, in a disturbing display of criminal activity within the city.

    Officers were dispatched to the Co-op store on Oakwood Lane promptly after receiving reports of the robbery at 9.14 pm. They arrived within five minutes to find that a male suspect, brandishing a knife and wearing a green mask, had demanded cash from the staff. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained during this incident.

    The situation at the Sainsbury’s Local store unfolded shortly afterwards, at 9.45pm, where two masked men armed with a crowbar executed a similar heist, escaping with both cash and cigarettes. The Leeds police force is currently conducting thorough investigations into both incidents, urging anyone with information to come forward to assist with their enquiries.

    It comes as a shocking new report shows five times jump in shop theft over the last year.

    According to Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2024 Crime Report, released today (4), local shops in the UK recorded a shocking 5.6 million incidents of shop theft over the last year, smashing the previous record of 1.1 million incidents recorded in 2023.

    The report reveals that retailers have recorded over 600 incidents of theft an hour over the last year.

    The report also highlights a huge increase in violent incidents committed against retailers and their colleagues. Over the last year, there have been around 76,000 incidents of violence in shops compared to 41,000 in 2023.

    Retailers are doing what they can to fight back by investing in crime prevention and detection measures, with £339 million spent over the last year in areas like CCTV, security staff, intruder alarms and internal communication systems, but the figures released today send a clear message to the Government, local forces and police leaders that more action is needed.

    Taken together, the cost of crime and the cost of investing in fighting crime results in a 10p “crime tax” on every transaction that takes place in every store across the UK, up from 6p in 2023.

    The report adds that the top motivations for repeat offending are drug or alcohol addiction, organised crime and opportunism. The top triggers for abuse in stores are encountering shop thieves, enforcing the law on age restricted sales and refusing to serve intoxicated customers.

    87 per cent of colleagues in convenience stores have faced verbal abuse over the last year while two thirds of retailers (67 per cent) believe that the cost-of-living crisis has led to an increase in theft. More than three quarters of retailers (76 per cent) believe organised crime has become more prevalent over the last year

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