Shoplifting offences in Rugby borough have increased by 27 per cent, according to the latest business crime report.
The figures show an increase in shoplifting in the borough in the 12 months from March 2013 compared with the previous year.
In the area covered by town centre police, there were 201 shoplifting offences between March 2012 and April 2013. There were 254 in the following 12 months.
There have been 2,586 business crime offences recorded in Warwickshire during this period.
Warwickshire Police said a business crime was “any criminal offence that is committed against a person or property that is motivated by the connection of that person or property to a business.”
Inspector Paul Judson, Rugby Police, said: “Shoplifting has increased but we are working with partners such as Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative and Rugby Business Improvement District to tackle the most prolific offenders.
“Also we are helping with designing out crime, for example by moving expensive stock away from exits and investing in quality CCTV.
“Also as part of Operation Christmas Presence we will be looking to increase patrols in the town centre to try and deter and detect offenders engaged in shoplifting in the run up to Christmas .
“We would encourage anyone with information in relation to shoplifters to contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team or independent charity Crimestoppers.”
Representatives from Warwickshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, Rugby First and the Chamber of Commerce have formed a task group with councillors to tackle the problem
Aftab Gaffar, managing director of Rugby First, believes the increase is inevitable in times of economic difficulty.
“It is important to note that the report provides figures for Warwickshire as a whole,” he said.
“A more detailed report focusing purely on the BID area, Rugby town centre, shows quite clearly that Rugby town centre is doing well in comparison to other Warwickshire towns and it is ranked top when it comes to keeping business crime levels down.
“While shop theft in the borough increased by 27 per cent between April 2013 and March 2014, the town centre fared significantly better, showing a relatively small increase of nine per cent,” he said.
Mr Gaffar added: “Rugby First is a security driven BID with an excellent national reputation. We have 24-hour town centre CCTV coverage, highly trained rangers, a fantastic working relationship with police and a variety of other crime prevention initiatives to help deter, detect and detain shoplifters.”