In a shocking incident in Croydon, a thief was caught on camera stealing alcohol while a media crew was in the premises interviewing a store owner about the impact of shoplifting on his business.
According to iTV, An interview with a store owner in Croydon was disrupted when the thief tried to leave the premises with alcohol, which had not been purchased.
CCTV footage of the incident at Freshfield Market in Croydon that aired on ITV News shows a man in a hooded camouflage jacket walking down the alcohol aisle and casually putting two bottles in his pocket. The clip then cuts to the ITV camera crew and a woman can be heard saying, “I think he’s stealing.”
The camera spins around to film the man, who is then intercepted by the owner and a staff member mid-interview.
The incident reflects the reports which state that shoplifters are now brazenly and fearlessly looting the stores.
Retailers have told ITV News that along with the rise in shoplifting comes an alarming increase in threats, intimidation and assaults.
Store manager David in Leeds said, “My time in this store, I’ve been threatened with knives, razors, hammers. I have been physically attacked. My colleagues get verbally abused, daily.”
“There’s still nothing we can do about these people until some action is taken and they’re removed from the streets, because it’s the same people day in and day out,” he added.
The British Retail Consortium has estimated that theft is costing retailers nearly £1 billion per year. Last week, the Co-op said its food business lost £33m ‘to leakage’ costs, which include theft and fraud.
Matt Hood, managing director of Co-op Food, said: “One of the things that makes me most angry is those that claim this is a victimless crime – it is fundamentally not, as my store colleagues who have been verbally abused, or have had knives or syringes pulled on them, can all vouch for.”
Hood said police officers attend about two in 10 thefts, meaning offenders have to be let go.
Smaller businesses that often can’t afford extra security staff or systems face even bigger issues.
Currently, if a person is caught stealing goods with a value below £200, they face a £70 fine without the need to go through a court. Technically, they still can be charged with a crime and can be sentenced to six months in prison by a magistrate, but most police forces reportedly opt for the quicker fine option.