Drugs and booze blamed for shoplifting hike

RISING drug addiction and alcohol use has been blamed for a 60 per cent increase in shoplifting offences in Rotherham town centre.

Figures released by South Yorkshire Police have revealed that shops have born the brunt of the dramatic rise while borough-wide figures indicated overall rises of around 25 per cent over the past 12 months.

Chief Inspector Richard Butterworth said: “Rotherham has traditionally had a very low rate of shoplifting but since 2011 it has experienced a steady rise which has brought it in line with other towns of a similar size.

“This is obviously a problem that must be nipped in the bud.”

Chief Insp Butterworth said that among the most regularly stolen items were low-cost commodities such as jars of coffee, cuts of meat and deodorants.

He said that most items were stolen by repeat offenders, adding: “It seems that the main problem in Rotherham is that we have a lot of people with drug addictions and serious alcohol problems.

“The stolen items are of low value but this remains a serious problem that is a real concern to businesses.”

SYP’s town centre policing team have successfully detected 60 per cent of all shoplifting offences, according to Mr Butterworth, and have visited shop owners to deliver advice on shop layouts and security measures that could reduce the risk of shoplifting.

Shopkeepers will also be given access to a special web-site where profiles of repeat offenders will be freely available.

The new web-site should be rolled out within a month, Chief Insp Butterworth said.