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    Grants for theft security measures announced for West Country stores

    Photo: iStock

    Independent stores in the West of England will be able to now apply for grants of up to £2,000 to cover the costs of shoplifting deterrents such as CCTV, screens, body cams and hand-held radios.

    Funding, announced by West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris on Tuesday (28), is expected to boost small business owners in the West of England in bolstering their security, amid rocketing rates of shoplifting in the region.

    Announcing the funding at an event in London Norris estimated the installation of security measures was costing independent retailers more than £4,500, an expense that many found “very challenging”.

    “I have been shocked by what shopkeepers have been telling me. I knew I had to act. There is a daily battle going on with shoplifters with brazen thieves swiping high value goods off shelves. This level of out-of-control crime is unsustainable and risks some communities losing local stores,” Business Live quoted Norris as saying.

    Independent stores will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,000 to cover the costs of CCTV, screens, body cams and hand-held radios, as part of the ‘Safer Shops West’ scheme.

    The announcement comes after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed levels of shoplifting in Avon and Somerset had risen by 41 per cent in the last year, compared to the national average increase of 25 per cent.

    James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said, “Independent convenience store retailers and their colleagues are too often the victims of shop theft and violent crime. Convenience stores across the UK invested £228m in crime prevention measures last year, but much of this would have been made by larger businesses.

    “This funding will help small businesses to make their stores less attractive to criminals and safer for retailers and their colleagues.”

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